Iowa State Bioscience Platforms


The State of Iowa formally asserted its commitment to being a leader in Biosciences when the Iowa Economic Development Authority released its November 2017 analysis from TEConomy Partners, LLC.

That analysis indicated Iowa has unique advantages that translate into tremendous opportunities for growing and diversifying its economy through the Biosciences. First, the category consistently outperforms Iowa’s overall private sector growth; second, Bioscience-related employment in the state is 36% above national levels; and third, there is enormous potential for further growth while providing high-paying jobs (average salaries of $68,000 for the Biosciences sector, versus $42,000 for all private-sector jobs).

The TEConomy analysis identified four key Bioscience areas of opportunity for the state: Biobased Products; Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics; Digital and Precision Agriculture; and Medical Devices. Iowa State has significant advantages in research infrastructure and expertise in the first three platforms. Together, with BioConnect Iowa, the university is leveraging these strengths to build leading-edge innovation ecosystems to accelerate discovery and transfer of new technologies within each of the three platforms.

Biobased Products

A critical mass of expertise and infrastructure – including the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), Bioeconomy Institute (BEI), Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR) and BioCentury Research Farm (BCRF) – makes Iowa State the unquestioned national leader in Biobased Products research and innovation.

Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics

The State of Iowa and Iowa State are uniquely positioned to be leaders in the Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics category, especially for animal vaccines, thanks to the university’s strengths in basic and veterinary sciences combined with critical infrastructure, such as the on-campus Nanovaccine Institute and Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, and access to the Ames-based USDA National Animal Disease Center.

Digital and Precision Agriculture

Iowa State’s position of leadership in Digital and Precision Agriculture is built on infrastructure such as the renowned Plant Sciences Institute and the Roy J. Carver Co-Laboratory Business Incubator – established to foster economic development in plant science and biotechnology – and the wide-ranging research expertise in the multi-faceted College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


Seeding Discovery & Technology Transfer

Through funding support from the Iowa Legislature, Iowa State allocates Bioscience seed grants to facilitate public-private research initiatives designed to accelerate the transfer of new technologies from the lab to the marketplace.

Click here for more information on current Bioscience seed grant opportunities, and you can learn more about previous seed grant recipients here and here.