3 reasons ABLC NEXT attendees should locate in Iowa

The state of Iowa is setting itself up as the center for the advanced bioeconomy of the future. Here’s three reasons why Iowa is the place for ABLC NEXT attendees:

  1. The “strongest” incentive package: A USDA report published in October 2016 said Iowa’s Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit is the “strongest existing incentive package for the global biobased chemical industry.”
  2. The top workforce: Iowa is home to the most soil and plant scientists in the country according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Iowa also has a concentration of biological technicians 38 percent greater than the national average.
  3. The infrastructure: There are more than 50 bioprocessing sites available in Iowa for advanced biorefining operations.

Iowa contains the second most acres of harvestable biomass of any state according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The state also offers the nation’s second lowest cost of business, according to CNBC’s 2016 Top States for Business Report. For more on what Iowa offers bioscience companies, visit iowaeconomicdevelopment.com or contact the Iowa Economic Development Authority at opportunities@iowa.gov.

Why this interstate in Iowa might be the best place for pilot projects using highly automated vehicles

In an unprecedented partnership, the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) is giving companies free access to the high-definition maps and associated data needed to run highly automated vehicles on a real, in-use highway.

Iowa DOT partnered with Here, a company jointly owned by Audi, BMW and Daimler, to create high definition maps of a portion of I-380 between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. The mapping enables vehicle-to-infrastructure communication; static and dynamic mapping data for vehicle automation; real-time traffic monitoring; and localized safety information.

Any company wishing to access the maps can do so for free, if they enter into a data-sharing agreement with Here. The Iowa DOT is unaware of any similar offer anywhere else in the country.

In addition, Iowa is home to some of the most advanced research in automated vehicles. The University of Iowa has done Advanced Driver Assistance System and automated vehicle research for more than 20 years. In addition to advanced road vehicles, it is also home to the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) at the University of Iowa Research Park, just outside of Iowa City.  NADS is one of the world’s most advanced driving simulators and is staffed by more than 30 faculty, staff, and students who study the connection between humans and vehicles. The NADS research labs include test vehicles that can operate with higher levels of automation. Research vehicles, simulator and its staff are available for advanced research and development grants and contracts.

If your company is interested in accessing these high-definition maps, please contact Scott Marler, Director of Traffic Operations, Iowa Department of Transportation at scott.marler@dot.iowa.gov.

Austrian ag tech startup visits Iowa, looks to work with university

Founders of the Austrian ag-tech startup Geoprospectors met with industry experts in Boone, Iowa, in August.
Founders of the Austrian ag-tech startup Geoprospectors met with industry experts in Boone, Iowa, in August.

During a March trade mission, officials from the Iowa Economic Development Authority visited Geoprospectors, an agricultural tech startup in Austria. That connection led to an August visit to Iowa, and now the company is in talks to work with Iowa State University and establish a legal presence in the U.S.

Geoprospectors developed a system to measure and visualize topsoil to help farmers increase crop yield while maintaining soil nutrition. The Austrian startup demoed the technology for industry and university researchers at the Iowa State University BioCentury Research Farm in Boone, Iowa. The next day, the startup met with potential customers at the Farm Progress Show, also in Boone.

According to a post on the company’s blog, Geoprospectors may work with Iowa State on further product development, and the company is seeking to establish a U.S. legal presence and hire U.S. staff.

Iowa is the natural place for ag-tech – it’s the #1 state in corn, egg, pork and soybean production in the United States. For more information about working in Iowa, visit iowaeconomicdevelopment.com or email opportunities@iowa.gov.