The Board of Regents during their meeting last week approved the creation of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center that’ll be headquartered at Iowa State University in Ames. Other research on nutrients was focused on food and nutrition, but ISU Provost, Jonathan Wickert, told the regents that’s not the case here.
“The title actually refers to the reduction of nutrient runoff into the Iowa waterways and also down into the Gulf of Mexico,” Wickert said. “And the area is really to improve water quality in the state, and much, much broader by reducing nitrogen and phosphate content.”
Wickert told the board the center and its associated advisory council are now part of the Iowa code. “So as an outcome of the 2013 legislative session and as signed into law by Governor Branstad, the Board of Regents is actually directed to create the Iowa Nutrient Research Center and have it be housed or administered by the university,” Wickert explained.
He says the center is supposed to use the resources of the state universities to “The purpose of the center is to conduct research to develop a science-based — a rigorous process grounded in research and grounded in science — to address water quality, and to improve the management of nutrients,” Wickert said.
Wickert said the center will have a lean budget, with a director and a half-time person as support staff. “Really the majority of funding and resources allocated to the center will go directly to research projects,” according to Wickert.
“And those research projects will be in multiple laboratories and multiple colleges, indeed at multiple universities within the state.” The state is putting in one-point-five million dollars for each of the first two years of the center and Wicker said the center will run as long as the funding is provided.
The legislation creating the center also mandated that the following people be on the advisory council: the Dean of the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or the dean’s designee; the director of the ISU Extension Service or the director’s designee; a representative of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research – hydroscience and
engineering from the College of Engineering of the University of Iowa appointed by the president; a person knowledgeable in an area related to nutrient research appointed by the president of the University of Northern Iowa; a person knowledgeable in an area related to nutrient research appointed by the state association of private colleges and universities; the Secretary of Agriculture or the secretary’s designee; the administrative director of the soil conservation division of the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship or the administrative director’s designee.; the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or the director’s designee.