Iowa Leaders Push for Biosciences Expansion

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  Vaccines, medical devices, precision, and digital agriculture and biobased chemicals could provide the kind of higher-paying, higher-skilled jobs that Iowa leaders seek, they say, if they can find the resources and convince companies to expand business in the state.

Those are the major components of new report leaders released Tuesday at DuPont Pioneer that also call for a Iowa Bioscience Development Center to lead efforts to expand bioscience research and development.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority released a consultant's report that called for the new push.

Read the full report here. 

"Technology based economic development is an approach developed by states to create a business climate and to enable an environment where an economy based on innovation and technology can thrive," said Doane Chilcoat, Dupont Pioneer's Director of Applied Science and Technology, as well as the Iowa Innovation Council's chairman.

Leaders want to expand Iowa's agricultural might, beyond producing commodities like corn and beans, which recently don't even bring in enough revenue for farmers to cover their production costs.

Iowa Economic Development Director Debi Durham said, "Our ability to compete on a global stage depends on our ability to generate and support discoveries and developments that strengthen our competitive advantages and spurs new innovation and business."

Durham said she will not ask the legislature for any additional money next year for the Iowa Bioscience Development Center. Instead, she hopes her agency, Regents and others can shift existing resources to fund the efforts.

Governor Kim Reynolds' office released figures that show Iowa has 36 percent more employment in bioscience than the national average. Reynolds said, "Biosciences are critical to Iowa's current and future economic success."