Contacts: GREGORY S. NICHOLS, Executive Director
Board of Regents, State of Iowa
BARB DIETRICH BOOSE, Communications Specialist
Board of Regents, State of Iowa
Release: Jan. 10, 2003
NOTE: Docket materials for meetings of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa,
are available at the following web site: http://www2.state.ia.us/regents/Meetings/DocketMemos/memos.html
Regent universities spur economic activity in Iowa amid recession, budget
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa's three public universities stimulated new businesses,
spurred technology development, and provided a range of services to entrepreneurs,
small business owners and major corporations statewide over the past year,
despite the soft economy and significant cuts in state funding for university
economic development and technology transfer efforts.
According to a report to the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the universities'
activities in economic development helped create thousands of jobs in Iowa
in businesses at their research parks and centers. For example, the 36 technology
companies and four anchor laboratories affiliated with University of Iowa
centers employ 1,077 people from 43 communities in a 12-county region, with
an average full-time salary of $51,654. The 120 companies and research centers
affiliated with Iowa State University employ nearly 1,400 individuals statewide.
The three universities further enhance Iowa's economy by providing services
to entrepreneurs, small businesses and major corporations. Outreach programs
in technology transfer and business/community development activities of the
University of Northern Iowa, for example, served nearly 3,900 businesses and
465 communities involving approximately 33,560 employees and community leaders
in all 99 Iowa counties.
In fiscal year 2002, Iowa's three state universities also filed 126 patent
applications, were issued 66 patents and executed 344 license and option agreements.
They reported 189 disclosures of intellectual property.
"The state's public universities play a key role in Iowa's economic
advancement through teaching, research and service," said Owen J. Newlin,
president of the Board of Regents. "Whether they are preparing students
for successful careers, conducting research that creates knowledge and generates
income, or advising small businesses, the three universities help drive our
state's economy and enhance our quality of life."
During its meeting on Wednesday, January 15, at the University of Iowa,
the Board of Regents will hear comments of representatives of three businesses
that have been assisted by the universities' centers and research parks:
-- Roman Terrill, senior vice president for legal and regulatory affairs
of Integrated DNA Technologies, a biotechnology firm that got its commercial
start in the University of Iowa Technology Innovation Center. IDT, which employs
more than 300 people and serves more than 27,000 customers worldwide, is a
leading supplier of custom oligonucleotides and a developer of innovative
new biotechnologies. Last year, IDT made a substantial royalty payment to
the University of Iowa Research Foundation via a license agreement covering
two patented DNA-based technologies that Joseph Walder, founder and president
of Integrated DNA Technologies, developed when he was a University of Iowa
professor of biochemistry.
-- Chris Clover, chief executive officer of Mechdyne Corporation, the world's
premier provider of immersive visualization solutions headquartered in Marshalltown.
Founded in 1996 thanks to the technology and expertise of Iowa State University,
Mechdyne is a multi-million dollar company specializing in large-scale visualization
systems, high-fidelity simulators, and engineering consultation for aerospace,
automotive, manufacturing, military, research, and geophysical exploration
-- Nick Horan, president of Laser Touch and Technologies, a company that
was established in 2000 to manufacture and market a laser-guided device used
in the painting and coating industry. Invented by a staff member of the Iowa
Waste Reduction Center at UNI and purchased by the company through a license
agreement, the Laser Touch device attaches to a variety of coating equipment
- from manual to robotic devices - to reduce paint "overspray" and
produce a more consistent finish. The EPA has verified the technology, and
the device is certified as a method of pollution prevention in California.
Iowa's public universities generate a substantial return on state funding
through gifts, grants and contracts from the federal government, businesses
and other private sources. For every $1 in state appropriations, the three
universities return $1.03 in external gifts, grants and contracts, and a return
of $1.26 including non-resident tuition revenues. In fiscal year 2002, the
universities' faculty, staff and students received a record $587.1 million
in external support from federal agencies, corporations and foundations, an
increase of $72.1 million from the previous year. While these dollars must
be used for research and development purposes specified by the funding sources,
they fuel discovery and economic benefits for Iowa.
Significant cuts in state funding for the universities' economic development
12 percent in fiscal year 2002 and nearly 60 percent in the current fiscal
year - will hamper continued progress in economic activity and technology
transfer. Deep reductions in state funding may jeopardize recent significant
federal and industry funding; harm the universities' ability to attract and
retain top-notch researchers; reduce services and cooperative partnerships;
and threaten new business development.
"The universities provide a wide range of unique programs and services
that are vital to Iowa's future," Newlin said. "They connect knowledge
and technology and their practical application with the private sector. Adequate
investment by the state in these activities will provide significant benefits
to Iowa's economy."