• Iowa universities cite evidence they're economic engines

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    October 20, 2017

    In arguing for a bigger slice of the state’s funding pie, Iowa’s public universities have painted themselves as economic engines that launch companies, create jobs, generate resources for scientific exploration and monetize research.

    A new Board of Regents report backs that up, showing Iowa companies in the 2017 budget year generated $14.1 million in revenue as a “direct result” of research on the campuses.

    That was up 47 percent over the $9.56 million in the 2016 budget year.

    But both figures likely are underrepresented as much of the revenue becomes too costly to track after licenses and patents expire, said Michael Crum, vice president for economic development and business engagement at Iowa State University.

    Numbers the universities can more easily track include new companies in research parks and incubators, which nearly doubled from 35 in 2016 to 66 in 2017.

    The 3,493 people employed at 185 companies in the ISU, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa research parks is up slightly from 3,460 in 2016.

    The universities formed a total of 29 startup companies in 2017, 21 of which were in Iowa. Those figures are on par with last year but above the 19 total and 15 in Iowa two years ago.