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ISU Research Park, Alliant Energy partner on ag innovation lab

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A digital rendering of the new Alliant Energy Agriculture Innovation Lab that will be built at the Iowa State University Research Park. Image provided by Alliant Energy.

A new collaborative office and agricultural workshop space planned for Ames will create “an epicenter of agricultural innovation,” leaders said Thursday.

The Alliant Energy Agriculture Innovation Lab is a partnership between the Iowa State University Research Park and Alliant Energy. It will consist of more than 85,000 square feet for ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Digital Ag Innovation Team and other agriculture-based business tenants.

“The Alliant Energy Ag Innovation Lab will enhance Iowa State University’s commitment to serve industry partners in developing innovation-based solutions to address global challenges in agriculture and off-road machinery,” said Matt Darr, leader of the university’s Digital Ag Innovation Team.

The Research Park-owned facility will be located on University Boulevard just south of the ISU Research Park. Construction is expected to begin this summer with completion planned for fall of 2024. Leaders said it is expected to be the first of a multiphase expansion at the Research Park in the precision and digital agriculture space.

ISU’s Digital Ag Innovation Team is responsible for 50% of industry research done at ISU. The team holds more than 70 patents and tech transfer outcomes. It also has developed 32 products that have been sold around the world.

The expanded space will allow the team to collaborate more closely with companies on agriculture technology projects, officials said in the announcement.

The cost of the project is more than $15.5 million. Alliant will contribute $3 million from a strategic projects budget funded by shareholders. The balance will come from the Research Park, including land.

ISU Research Park President Rick Sanders said the center will allow the mutual goal of investing and innovating in the agriculture industry to “take a significant step forward.”

“It will afford us the opportunity to create an epicenter of agricultural innovation here in the Midwest,” Sanders said.

John Larsen, chairman and CEO of Alliant Energy, said the center will create space “for the emergence of cutting-edge technology and collaboration opportunities in agriculture innovation.”

In addition to collaborative work space, the center will include an atrium and conferencing space to encourage collaboration between stakeholders, officials said.

“This campus for ag innovation will attract new students and provide new opportunities to enhance public-private partnerships in Iowa,” Darr said.


Michael Crumb

Michael Crumb is a senior staff writer at Business Record. He covers economic development, transportation, energy & environment, culture, sales & marketing.

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