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Middle Bit: Iowa State and University of Iowa among top patent producers in 2018

Both the University of Iowa and Iowa State University have been named to a new list of the top 100 patent recipients among global universities, assembled by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

According to data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Iowa State University received 34 U.S. utility patents in 2018, ranking it No. 69 on the list. The University of Iowa received 31 utility patents last year, earning it a ranking of No. 79.

Iowa State’s No. 69 ranking on the in list is its highest ever on the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association publication. Iowa State was ranked No. 83 in last year’s ranking, and prior to that was ranked at 86th in 2013.   

The No. 79 ranking for UI for 2018 marks its first appearance on the top 100 list.

Six more schools receive computer science grants

Six more elementary schools in Iowa will be receiving special computer science-related grants on top of the six that have already received them, the governor’s office announced Wednesday.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said that each school will receive $50,000 toward improving computer science instruction.

The additional schools include:

  • Whittier Elementary
  • Pocahontas Elementary
  • Franklin Elementary
  • Hospers Elementary
  • Storm Lake Elementary
  • Kingsley-Pierson Elementary

Previous recipients in eastern Iowa included Lenihan Intermediate in the Mashalltown Community School District, Cora B. Darling Elementary in the Postville Community School District, and Richardson Elementary in the Fort Madison Community School District.

The grants are determined through a joint effort of the Iowa Department of Education and the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

Iowa Technology & Geospatial Conference

The Iowa Technology & Geospatial Conference (ITAG) is set to take place Wednesday, June 19 through Friday, June 21.

In total, there will be more than 50 hours of educational content over the course of the three-day conference.

The conference will be primarily comprised of five educational tracks. Two will be dedicated to geospatial technologies, two educational tracks will be dedicated to IT technologies, and one track will be dedicated to ESRI’s Hands-On Learning Lab.

Middle Bit: Iowa State and University of Iowa among top patent producers in 2018 | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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