Leath shares plans for bioeconomy state funds

President Steven Leath has unveiled plans for investing $7.5 million appropriated by the Iowa legislature this spring to support Iowa State's Leading the Bioeconomy initiative.

"We are pleased the governor and legislature chose to support our biosciences programs," Leath said. "I am confident our faculty and staff will leverage this investment to educate students, and to conduct research that strengthens Iowa's bioeconomy and leads to new biosciences jobs in our state."

A committee chaired by interim vice president for research and economic development David Oliver developed the plan. It included representation from the Bioeconomy Institute, the National Science Foundation Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, the BioCentury Research Farm and the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

The $7.5 million will provide important support in several areas that are important to both Iowa State and the state's bioeconomy:

Translational research facilities

The initiative will invest $2.25 million to expand the Biorenewables Laboratory and the BioCentury Research Farm, providing new equipment, facilities and capabilities that both create discoveries and translate those discoveries into successful commercial processes.

Signature bioeconomy research programs

The initiative will invest $2.75 million to expand work in eight new and existing research projects:

  • Angus Herd Genomic Project
  • Biopolymers and Biocomposites Initiative
  • Carbon Negative Energy Project
  • Distributed Manufacturing Initiative
  • Hybrid Processing Project
  • Project to Improve Economics of Corn and Soybean Conversion to Biofuels
  • Corn Stover Supply Chain Solutions Initiative
  • TALENS Project

Bioeconomy research laboratories

Another $1.45 million will be used to renovate three existing laboratories: the Animal Science Nutrition Laboratory, the Livestock Health and Feed Efficiency Laboratory and the High Throughput Mass Spectrometry Laboratory.

Biorenewable resources graduate program

Iowa State will use $500,000 to attract high caliber graduate students interested in the biorenewables field. This initiative will strengthen the university's research programs by awarding 12 one-year graduate fellowships in 2014, and support Iowa's bioeconomy workforce by offering new specialized courses in biorenewables.

External partnership and economic development initiatives

Iowa State will invest $600,000 ($200,000 each) in efforts to:

  • Build partnerships with companies and agencies on biosciences research projects
  • Establish an industrial liaison office to work with Iowa biosciences companies
  • Expand the Biobased Foundry program of technological entrepreneurship

"Strengthening the links between Iowa State and Iowa's biosciences industry will help today's promising research projects become tomorrow's economic development opportunities," Leath said. "By encouraging student and faculty start-ups and working with existing firms, we can create a positive impact for Iowans in every corner of the state."