Bioscience Thrives in Iowa

January 31, 2019
Bioscience Thrives in Iowa

It’s an exciting time for bioscience in Iowa. In July, Des Moines will host the 2019 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology — the first time this event has been held outside of the coasts or Canada. BIO attendees may be pleasantly surprised to learn Iowa is much more than cornfields and midwestern values. 

Iowa has earned its reputation as a bioscience epicenter with a continuous focus on innovation and collaboration, leveraging unique research and development strengths in four bioscience platforms in particular: biobased chemicals, medical devices, precision and digital agriculture, and vaccines and immunotherapy. 

The state is home to the second-most acres of harvestable biomass. Forty-three processing facilities in Iowa produce more than one-quarter of U.S. ethanol, and 12 refineries produce 16 percent of U.S. biodiesel. The state’s legislature created America’s first Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit in 2016, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls the “strongest existing incentive package for the global biobased chemical industry.”

A Business-Friendly Environment
With an eye to sustained growth, state leaders have long valued the importance of a business-friendly regulatory environment. As a result, each of the state’s core strength sectors — wind energy, renewable biofuels, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and food manufacturing — have benefited from a low cost of doing business, tax incentives, advanced and easy-to-access infrastructure and continued support from a pro-business state government.

A Skilled and Motivated Workforce
Iowa has ramped up its STEM education — Iowa colleges and universities award more than 2,000 bioscience degrees each year. And, it’s why Iowa's bioscience workforce has grown to be one of the best in the nation. Iowa is a bioscience leader, and its residents know how to get the job finished.

One of America’s preeminent agricultural research institutions, Iowa State University, is based in Ames, Iowa. Ames is also home to the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory.

Iowa’s appeal to its workforce isn’t all about business. Iowans — both native and new — enjoy a quality of life that offers balance between career goals and an active family life. U.S. News & World Report also ranked Iowa as No. 1 in infrastructure, No. 3 in healthcare and No. 5 in education — all of which contributed to the state being named the magazine’s No. 1 state in the nation in 2018.