Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

ISU awards Covid-19 seed grants to 7 research projects

The Iowa State University Office of the Vice President for Research has awarded COVID-19 Research Seed Grants to seven research projects in an effort to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each of the teams will receive $15,000 to pursue projects rapidly for up to six months. The funding will support the initial stages of high-risk, high-reward projects that address the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 Research Seed Grant program was created to encourage faculty in all academic disciplines to apply their expertise to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application process saw 21 research proposals, with five of Iowa State’s seven colleges represented. While four projects were initially slated to receive funding, additional financial support from the College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences allowed seven teams to ultimately be selected.

“One of the most important functions that research serves is to explore solutions to society’s greatest challenges, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is one of them,” said ISU Interim Vice President for Research Guru Rao. “We had originally budgeted to fund four projects through this program. However, the quality of the proposals our researchers developed was so outstanding, we are delighted that we are able to support seven total projects through collaboration with our college partners.”

Learn more about the seven research projects that received grants here.

Previous coverage

Middle Bit: ISU chemists developing paper-strip urine test for at-home COVID-19 evaluation -June 19, 2020

ISU awards Covid-19 seed grants to 7 research projects | 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
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now