Over the past several months, IICorp has worked closely with Iowa State University personnel on several efforts related to the bioscience development center platforms, funded by the $825,000 FY2020 appropriation made to ISU by the Iowa Legislature.
Platform Chief Technology Officer hire: After conducting a national search, an excellent candidate with extensive industrial experience was hired for the CTO position for this platform, Dr. Sundeep Vani has 22 years of industrial and commercialization experience in the biobased products space at companies such as ADM and Kelco. He will help identify promising emerging technologies and ensure their focused development into viable commercial products. He will also work closely with the IICorp CEO and staff on commercialization opportunities for promising technologies.
Industry-University technology acceleration collaboration proposals: A program to seed new industry-university collaborations in the area of Biobased Products was initiated. Eleven proposals were submitted, of which four proposals were selected for funding, with awards of $75,000 each. The proposals clearly outlined how the work is connected to economic development in the State of Iowa and how the seed project will be leveraged to create follow-on funding either from the company(s) or through partnered proposals to other funding agencies. The companies involved in these projects include ADM, Cargill, Dickinson Industries, Kemin Industries, Kent Corporation, Pella Corporation, Puretein Bioscience and Siegwerk USA. Partners offered matching contributions that include $25,000 cash and $35,000 in kind.
Digital and Precision Agriculture:
Industry analysis and identification of priority companies for partnerships: The Digital and Precision Agriculture Platform has engaged a market research company to assist with the identification of research priorities of relevant companies. ~15 companies engaged in the digital and precision agriculture space were identified. External analysts had one-on-one conversations with relevant senior leaders at the companies identified to understand their future needs. This project should be completed by the end of the year and the results will be used to guide thinking about potential partnerships, licensing opportunities as well as the landscape for startups.
Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics:
Industry-University technology acceleration collaboration proposals: A program to seed new industry-university collaborations in the area of Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics was initiated with proposals due in October. Of the six proposals that were submitted, two were selected for funding at $30K each, and involved collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. The proposals clearly outlined how the work is connected to economic development in the State of Iowa and how the seed project will be leveraged to create follow-on funding either from the company or through partnered proposals to other funding agencies. The industry partner offered $30,000 in in-kind matching contributions across the two projects.