The executive director of the Iowa Board of Regents says the economic development generated by Iowa?s three public universities is astounding. Gary Steinke says ten-thousand businesses and individuals in each of Iowa?s 99 counties received technical services and training through the universities’ economic development and technology transfer programs.
Steinke says “The unseen part of all that is that at all three universities, there are graduate programs and these graduate programs are run by faculty who have received outside sponsored funding. This funding, by either the federal government or businesses is sometimes very, very large, anywhere from a million to two-million dollars and as much as ten or 12-million dollars every year. This money is spent in Iowa.” Steinke says Iowa State is second only to M-I-T nationwide in the number of patents applied for by students, staff and faculty.
A recent report summarized the universities’ economic development and technology transfer activities. He says calling the three state universities an economic engine for Iowa is a significant understatement. “Really, the economic development benefits are astounding when you take a good look at it and this report only highlights those things which have occurred recently. There are many, many past successes that have occurred as well.”
Regents economic development committee chair Ruth Harkin says the three universities’ biggest economic impact is providing world-class higher education to thousands of Iowans. Harkin says they also bring in more than 600-million dollars in federal and industry research funding every year. She says the universities work to commercialize new discoveries with Iowa businesses or start companies.