What industrial partners were connected with EPSCoR activities?
Iowa EPSCoR established relationships with over a dozen companies with interests in renewable energy, including equipment manufacturers, utilities and agricultural processing companies, such as: Acciona Windpower North America, Monsanto, MidAmerican Energy, and others.
Why did industry partner with academia through the EPSCoR process?
Workforce development: One goal of Iowa EPSCoR is to prepare the next generation of STEM professionals by attracting and retaining more students in STEM careers.
Statewide infrastructure: The partnerships established through this program with government, higher education and industry are designed to effect lasting improvements in the state’s research infrastructure, R&D capacity, STEM pipeline and hence, the State of Iowa’s national competitiveness.
Grants support: The Broader Impacts Platform may be able to provide assistance to faculty and industry in order to seek partnership grants for work force development as well as SBIR and STTR to capitalize on technology transfer and small business creation.
Did industry take advantage of “broader impacts” (BI) activities such as outreach and diversity engagement?
Yes. For example, one goal of Iowa NSF EPSCoR’s external engagement plan was to translate intellectual property (IP) into a near-term useable form and transfer it to the private-sector. It is important that this IP move into the private-sector to ensure that the greatest impact is made on energy generation and energy utilization in the United States. The IP is managed through a joint effort of the respective technology transfer offices coordinated by the EPSCoR RII management team.
For qualified companies, Iowa NSF EPSCoR helped facilitate SBIR/STTR funding that will provide additional resources. Moreover, to promote collaboration and partnership, two students from each platform will intern at participating industrial partners each year.
Likewise, two engineers/scientists from industry for each platform spent one week to one month distributed throughout the year at the research platform site. Through hands-on interactions, students, industry scientists, and research faculty will develop a better understanding of energy related challenges and build sustaining partnerships.