Iowa Economic Development Authority Prioritizes Biobased Chemicals as Part of Biosciences Strategy

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In an Iowa Bioscience Development report commissioned by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), biobased chemicals was identified as one of four strategic technology spaces for Iowa to support and invest in for creating an innovation ecosystem between industry, the state and its academic institutions. The Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at Iowa State University (ISU), was highlighted as a key R&D resource for the state‘s biobased chemicals platform.


The IEDA expressed a need to be more strategic and sustained in the state’s economic development efforts. Given the raw material availability, existing processing capital infrastructure, and technological position (CBiRC being emphasized), biobased chemicals was selected as a key strategic area. With this designation, biobased chemicals is targeted for longer term support from the state and will be emphasized in future economic development activities. Biosciences are also regarded as a source of high-wage, family sustaining jobs in Iowa; the state demonstrates a higher concentration of these jobs when compared with national averages.


The IEDA commissioned TEConomy Partners to review the biosciences area in the state and recommend emerging technology areas in which Iowa could develop a leadership position. Released in November 2017, the Iowa Bioscience Development report recommended that efforts in biobased chemicals should build from CBiRC’s activities and that CBiRC represents a core strength in academic R&D work focused on biobased chemicals and associated research in the state.