ISU to establish soybean research center

A proposed center for soybean research at Iowa State University will foster collaboration between science, agriculture and industry in Iowa, the nation’s leading soybean producer.

The center was approved by the Board of Regents at its meeting Wednesday at Iowa State University in Ames.

The public-private partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association is “directed at improving the science and business of growing soybeans in the state,” said ISU provost Jonathan Wickert. It will be the first coordinated effort to unite soybean interests in Iowa, where the 2012 crop was valued at around $6 billion.

The center, overseen by a director and based in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will work closely with the Iowa Soybean Association to define research and industry goals.

“It will bring the industry together,” said Brian Kemp, president of the soybean association, in a news release. The singular focus, said Kemp, is “improving competitiveness of soybeans.”

The cost to establish the center in its first year is expected to come to nearly $150,000, increasing to $228,000 in seven years. The center will be funded by a mix of internal and external funds, including competitive grants.

“We’re extremely excited about it,” said ISU president Steven Leath. “This will allow us to really focus on soybean research and providing a framework around it in many disciplines we did not have before.”

ISU also won approval to rename its Midwest Transportation Consortium to the Midwest Transportation Center. The center, which is funded by federal department of transportation grants, studies ways to improve highway infrastructure in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

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