• Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Missouri Approves $32M for Bio-Ag Research, TBED

May 21, 2007

Two bills passed by the Missouri General Assembly last week include more than $32 million to support new initiatives to promote TBED activities in the state. Programs to support bio-agricultural research, technology commercialization and business growth won the lion's share of the new appropriations.

Funding for Missouri's Life Sciences Research Trust Fund, which was stalled during last year's legislative session, finally made it through the legislature, with last week's passage of the 2008 budget bill. The Trust Fund was created in 2003 to support life science research, commercialization and technology transfer. HB 688 allocated 25 percent of the state's tobacco settlement funds beginning in fiscal year 2007 to the Life Sciences Research Board, which administers the fund. However, concern over funds being used for embryonic stem cell research led the General Assembly to divert the $37.5 million appropriation last session. In November, voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits state or local governments from preventing embryonic stem cell research (see the  Nov. 13, 2006 issue of the Digest).

Steering clear of any further controversy this year, legislators approved a $13.4 million appropriation for research focusing on animal health and nutrition, renewable energy and plant science. The funds are limited to a one-time appropriation.

The state has an aggressive animal sciences corridor, and the trust will invest in projects to invigorate the research base to help encourage and support this industry cluster, said Mike Mills, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.


The General Assembly also passed HB 16 last week, which includes more than $15 million from the Lewis and Clark Discovery Fund for several new TBED initiatives through the Missouri Technology Corporation, including:

  • Ag Biotech Company Recruitment Fund ($3.35 million) - Funds will be used to recruit and retain ag biotech companies to the state.
  • Opportunity Fund for Bioenergy Research Center/National Bio and Agro-defense Facility ($3.25 million) - Funds will be used to boost the state's competitiveness in seeking major federal research facilities, including one of three federal Bioenergy Research Centers and the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility to be awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • MTC Entrepreneur Pipeline Program ($1.5 million) - This is a new program designed to match entrepreneurs with high-tech products to create fast-growing high-tech jobs.
  • Plant and Ag Biotech Seed Capital Co-Investment Fund ($1.5 million) - Funding will be used to invest alongside promising early-stage plant and ag biotech companies.
  • High Tech Small Business Development Incentive Program ($1.25 million) - Funds will be used as loans for high-tech small businesses that apply for and receive federal SBIR/STTR grants.
  • Intellectual Property Management Fund ($1.1 million) - Funding will provide resources to seek protection of the state's investment in intellectual property.
  • St. Louis Information Technology Initiatives ($1 million) - Funding will be used to leverage local dollars invested in making St. Louis a leader in the creation of Information Technology jobs and companies through the University of Missouri St. Louis High Performance Computing Center and Innovate St. Louis.
  • Medical Device Innovation Program ($350,000) - This program seeks to mentor student fellows through the process of successfully bringing new patented surgical devices and engineered health care solutions into the health care market.
  • High Tech Marketing Promotion Fund ($350,000) - This matching marketing program is designed to encourage Missouri companies designated within the Department of Economic Development's targeted high-tech industries to seek out new international markets.
  • Missouri Open Innovation Network ($250,000) - Funding will assist in setting up a web-based portal for accessing innovation data from all Missouri R&D organizations.
  • Missouri Power Resource Center ($200,000) - Funding will provide for the planning and development of the Power Resource Center to focus on cutting-edge technology related to power and next-generation batteries in the fields of nanotechnology, nano-materials and micro devices.
  • AgBio Outreach Program ($125,000) - Funding will complement a federally supported project to challenge communities to leverage rural Missouri's interest in becoming energy independent and to strengthen K-12 science curriculum.
  • Emerging Firms Mapping Project ($50,000) - This project involves the mapping of Missouri's high-tech entrepreneurial firms to assist in national marketing efforts.

In addition, HB 16 also includes $5 million for construction of a new business incubator at Missouri State University.