Kansas State University awarded U.S. Economic Development Administration grant for Global Food Systems Economic Prosperity Accelerator
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018
MANHATTAN — Kansas agriculture accounts for $47.9 billion in direct output and is crucial to meeting global food demand. A new project at Kansas State University will help Kansas support global food security and safety while boosting the state's agriculture and food economy.
The Kansas State University Global Food Systems Economic Prosperity Accelerator will be funded by a $745,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, or EDA, 2018 Regional Innovation Strategies program. The awards are designed to create and expand cluster-focused entrepreneurship and technology transfer programs. The Kansas State University project was one of 24 selected from more than 230 proposals to receive funding.
The university will use the grant, matched by other resources, to launch the accelerator in an effort to address the increasingly complex challenges of global food demand and advance the productivity and growth of the Kansas economy.
"This grant will grow the knowledge-based food systems economy of Kansas, produce more university-industry partnerships and create jobs in the region," said U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran in a statement about the grant.
Peter Dorhout, Kansas State University vice president for research, said the accelerator will build on the university's past efforts to provide leadership in global food systems.
"The EDA grant will enable K-State to continue to advance our research, education and outreach in global food systems," Dorhout said. "Our land-grant heritage and agriculture expertise makes K-State uniquely suited to address global food needs while engaging our key stakeholders and enabling economic growth for Kansas."
University partners include the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, or KSU-IC, and the K-State Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. Other area collaborators include Knowledge-based Economic Development, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Area Development Council, TechAccel, and the Kansas State University colleges of Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine and Arts and Sciences.
According to Rebecca Robinson, director of economic development and internal program development for KSU-IC, this team has been collaborating for years and already boasts many successes.
"We're honored to achieve this federal recognition of our grassroots effort," Robinson said. "The partnerships we have built in the last decade have raised the profile of K-State and Manhattan as a source of expertise and engagement in global food systems, and we look forward to building on past success."
Through a combination of existing and new projects, Kansas State University and KSU-IC will engage with an inclusive set of university researchers to explore industry collaborations that will ultimately result in the conversion of research, ideas and innovation to commercially viable enterprises and domestically manufactured products.
The grant will fund the Global Food Systems Economic Prosperity Accelerator activities from January 2019 through January 2022. Overall aims will be to accelerate products to the marketplace, encourage transformational innovation, further advance university-industry partnerships in research and commercialization, and encourage entrepreneurship. The project will include working with industry training for faculty, startup mini-grants for students, company outreach, faculty teaming events, technology marketing, company expansion and formation and more.
"The K-State approach to building capacity and promoting strategic partnerships has received national recognition, and federal funding will help us continue to make progress as we forge new partnerships, attract more companies to northeast Kansas and create jobs," Dorhout said.
Kansas State University was named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in summer 2017 for efforts in Talent, Place and Innovation. The master plan and progress on the North Campus Corridor project was named a finalist in the Place category of the University Economic Development Association 2018 Awards of Excellence. The university has increased extramural research funding by 25 percent in the last three fiscal years, including growth in industry partnerships and licensing of global food systems technologies.