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K-State unveils plan to increase jobs, investments in Kansas

Friday, Dec. 3, 2021

Agriculture robot

Agricultural systems innovation, such as the use of robots in the field, is a key component of Kansas State University's Economic Prosperity Plan for Kansas. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — You can plan on it: Kansas State University is launching a new strategic initiative to help people and businesses in Kansas.

The university's Economic Prosperity Plan will add thousands of jobs and billions of dollars into the Kansas economy by leveraging K-State's strengths in four key areas: food and agriculture systems innovation; digital agriculture and advanced analytics; biosecurity and biodefense; and extension and outreach.

"Our Economic Prosperity Plan will allow K-State to create 3,000 new jobs and $3 billion in additional investments into the state of Kansas in the next 10 years," said David Rosowsky, vice president for research. "This new initiative will allow K-State to truly demonstrate the value that universities provide to local, state and national economies through job growth and job creation, as well as retaining and attracting talent in the state."

The plan is a response to a request from the Kansas Board of Regents to demonstrate how Kansas institutions of higher education will add to economic prosperity in the state.

"As the country’s first operational land-grant institution, K-State has always focused on excellent teaching, research and service that advance the well-being and economic prosperity of our state," said Richard Myers, university president. "This new initiative has the potential for significant economic growth for the region and state but will require many dedicated partnerships and support from the state to be successful. The university will continue to work vigorously to build those partnerships to make this plan a reality."

Two focus areas in the plan center around food and agriculture. The food and agriculture systems innovation area will ensure Kansas retains greater value-added opportunites throughout the food system value chain. The plan also will leverage K-State's deep strengths across crops, livestock and natural resources research and innovation to attract outside investment and help Kansas become the global leader in digital agriculture and advanced analytics

"The resulting competitive advantages for Kansas within five to 10 years include economic growth and job creation; profitable, regenerative and sustainable food and agriculture systems; new technologies and innovation; and better health for Kansas citizens through nutritional security," said Ernie Minton, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension.

K-State's plan also will focus on using university strengths in biosecurity and biodefence to attract new companies and partnerships to the state.

A biotechnology development module within the university's Biosecurity Research Institute will allow corporate partners to develop diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive countermeasures for a broad range of emerging zoonotic diseases while addressing scalable production. This secure space also will enable emergency rapid manufacturing to protect the nation's animal and food supply during a crisis.

The College of Veterinary Medicine will also focus significant efforts on keeping graduates in Kansas.

"In addition to making it easier for companies to partner with K-State researchers, we are increasing our efforts to keep our graduates in the state," said Bonnie Rush, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "Kansas veterinarians contribute about a half a billion dollars to the economic development of the state, so the more veterinarians we can keep in the state, the stronger the economic prosperity of producers."

A final area of focus in the plan is an initiative called K-State 105: Every Town to Gown, which leverages K-State's statewide extension presence to assist businesses and communities in all of the state's 105 counties to access K-State innovation, talent and training through local liaisons and coordinated resources.

"Our plan is bold, it is audacious, but it is achievable," Rosowsky said. "I am excited to get to work and start demonstrating real results."

Written by

Erin Pennington