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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Jan. 27, 2006

Regent universities' research and development help Iowa businesses earn millions

by Mike Krapfl

A special event featuring university leaders, business representatives and new technologies will demonstrate how research at Iowa's three regent universities turns into economic development for businesses and for Iowa.

An "Innovation Iowa" event sponsored by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, in the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, 1200 Grand Ave., Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public, and business leaders, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are encouraged to attend.

Impact worth millions

The regent universities' impact on Iowa businesses can be measured by the millions of dollars.

During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2005, Iowa companies earned $27.24 million from technologies licensed from Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. That's up from $21.4 million in FY2004 and $17.2 million in FY2003.

But that's not the only measure of the universities' economic impact. In FY2005, Iowa's regent universities:

  • Earned $23 million in royalties and licensing fees.
  • Had 502 license and option agreements that yielded income.
  • Executed 254 license and option agreements for intellectual property.
  • Filed applications for 172 patents.
  • Won 51 patents.

R & D keeps job market healthy

And the $459 million of external research support they attracted supported 16,500 jobs, according to a formula developed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"As I have traveled around the state, I have come to believe there is a lack of understanding of the size and importance of the role of the regent universities in the economic development of this state," said Michael Gartner, president of the regents.

"But, in fact, just as the universities play a huge and vital role in the educational, the cultural, the athletic, the intellectual, the governmental and the civic aspects of life in Iowa, so do they play a huge and vital role in the state's economic development. And the board of regents and the leaders of the three fine regent universities are committed to ensure that that role will only grow in the years ahead," he said.

Economic development presentations at Innovation Iowa will include:

  • Discussions of university programs that advance economic development. Presenters will be John Brighton, ISU vice provost for research and economic development; Pamela York, executive director of the University of Iowa Research Foundation; and Jill Trainer, interim associate vice president from the Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Discussions of Iowa businesses that have turned university-licensed technologies into products. The presenters will be Doug Jacobson, ISU associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and founder and chief technology officer of Palisade Systems, Inc. in Ames; Rebecca Dill-Devor, director of technical support and international customer service for Integrated DNA Technologies in Coralville; and Lou Honary, professor and director of the University of Northern Iowa's National Ag-Based Industrial Lubricants Center and founder, president and chief executive officer of Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing, Inc. in Plainfield.
  • Displays of technologies developed at the universities that are available for licensing and commercialization.

Innovation Iowa

4-6 p.m. Feb. 15

Pappajohn Education Center

1200 Grand Ave.

Des Moines

Host: Board of Regents, State of Iowa