(Ames) — For the fourth time in the past six years, Iowa State University has received an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Award.
The award is given out annually by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities recognizing schools around the country for their work in economic development within their state or region and the nation. Iowa State has been eligible for the award since 2017, placing first in the ‘Innovation’ category this year — one of three for the award. David Spalding is the Vice President of Economic Development and Industry at Iowa State. Speaking on KMA’s “Morning Show” recently, Spalding says the school received the award based on three different case studies — the first of which involved the university’s work in finding more affordable and sustainable housing for rural communities.
“So we got a grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority and bought a large-scale 3D printer,” said Spalding. “We have developed materials with our construction engineering folks to use for the printing and essentially serve as the ‘ink’ in the printing — but it’s really printing material on the location.”
The IEDA grant totaled $1.4 million. Spalding says the printer is currently at Iowa Central Community College for indoor testing and training community college students. It will be moved to Hamburg for its first outdoor tests this spring and summer.
Additionally, the school was recognized for its work with CyTown, a new $200 million multi-use district. Spalding says the goal of CyTown is to develop an area that is currently a parking lot to help connect the campus, Iowa State Center, and ISU Research Park.
“That development is planned to include a medical clinic, some businesses, some what we call the ‘CyTown Suites,'” Spalding explained. “The goal really with this is to create a bit of an entertainment district to add to the experience of those coming to visit us for football, basketball, volleyball, ectara.”
He adds the district is also a creative way to bring in additional support for the performing arts by providing funding for the maintenance and updating of CY Stephens Auditorium, Fischer Theater, and the Scheman Building. Pending final approval from the Board of Regents, work on the project’s first phase will begin in January 2023.
Finally, the school was also selected for its private-public partnerships in ag research. Spalding says one of the highlights is Iowa State’s Digital Ag research team’s work with John Deere.
“Which has one of their five global technology centers located here at Iowa State in the Research Park, but also has a facility that they use to do research on advanced sprayer technology,” he said. “This technology with using sensors developed by faculty here at Iowa State, they’re able to provide precise amounts of exactly the right chemical when spraying a field.”
The Digital Ag team is also working with the ISU Research Park to develop a new facility to meet the needs of the growing program, which works to find more efficient farming methods. Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen accepted the APLU award on November 6th at the group’s annual conference. You can hear the full interview with David Spalding below: