Big Idea Ventures, the global leader in early-stage alternative protein and food technology investments, has welcomed eight new university collaborators to its Generation Food Rural Partners Fund.
Kansas State University — Kansas State University is a comprehensive, research, land-grant institution serving students and the people of Kansas, the nation, and the world. Since its founding in 1863, the university has evolved into a modern institution of higher education, committed to quality programs, and responsive to a rapidly changing world and the aspirations of an increasingly diverse society. Total extramural funding and support garnered by Kansas State University is on the rise and the FY 2022 total represents a $29.3 million increase in sponsored research support relative to FY 2021 for a net increase of 27% over the past five years and 41% since FY 2016. FY 2022 awards totaled $181,647,775, including a 32% increase in federal funding. Economic development and technology transfer are significant focus areas, as is growth in the number of our strategic partnerships. K-State Innovation Partners, our technology commercialization, economic development and corporate engagement unit facilitated more than $6.4 million in total licensing revenue in FY 2022 and 24 license agreements. “K-State has a strong track record of commercializing the innovations developed by our researchers,” said Richard Linton, K-State president. “This partnership with Big Ventures will create new opportunities to keep those technologies in Kansas, which will support our Economic Prosperity Plan and our land-grant mission.”
Montana State University is the state's first land-grant university and remains committed to its mission of education, research and outreach. Founded as the state's agricultural college, MSU is Montana's largest university and one of only two institutions in the U.S. designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as having both "very-high" research and an enrollment profile of "very high undergraduate." Its research expenditures top $200 million per year, including groundbreaking work in optics, photonics, biochemistry, engineering, precision agriculture and more. Students at Montana State have access to world-class faculty and opportunities to engage in hands-on research starting in their undergraduate years, all at a campus situated among the mountains, rivers and landscapes of southwest Montana.
University of Arkansas — The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is home to the state’s premier research agency for agriculture, food and natural resources, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. In recent years, experiment station scientists have released dozens of new crop cultivars and fruit varieties, developed novel technologies to protect animal health, and generated new jobs through related startups. Through research and outreach, the Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families in Arkansas by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. As Arkansas' flagship institution, the University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, and discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation.
University of California, Davis — Founded in 1908 as a public land-grant research university, UC Davis has emerged as a tier-one research institution that regularly stands among the nation’s top 10 public universities. With four colleges and six professional schools, and over $1 Billion in research funding in 2022, the university continually fosters a community that’s driven by curiosity and motivated to solve the world’s greatest problems. As strains on our environment and food supply accelerate, researchers at UC Davis continue to provide critical insight and inspire innovation: The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) is internationally recognized for its excellence in plants and animals, agriculture, and food science, while institutes such as the Innovation Institute for Food & Health (IIFH) and the AI Institute for Food Systems (AIFS) are pursuing innovative solutions for a path toward a sustainable future, developing and deploying breakthrough solutions to meet the growing demands in our food supply. From life-saving medical treatments to sustainable environmental solutions, innovations from UC Davis benefit everyday life in California communities and around the globe.
University of Delaware — The University of Delaware, founded in 1743, is the eighth-oldest university in the country. UD’s storied tradition of academic excellence continues today in both the classroom and laboratory. UD is classified nationally as both a research university with very high activity — in the top 3% — and as a community-engaged university for its long tradition of applying knowledge and creativity to critical challenges facing communities in Delaware and around the world. UD is one of a select group of institutions in the United States to hold the triple land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant designation. Beyond its Georgian-inspired main campus in Newark, Delaware, UD has locations across the state—in Wilmington, Dover, Georgetown and Lewes.
University of Missouri (MU) — A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, MU improves lives as Missouri’s largest public research university and serves citizens statewide and beyond as a major land-grant institution. The university, which generated $432 million in research expenditures in FY2022, boasts a strong interdisciplinary culture with medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture and engineering on the same campus along with the nation’s only NIH-funded university rat and swine centers for translational research. MU’s comprehensive life sciences research and development pipeline, which includes multiple agricultural research centers throughout Missouri, is solving problems in human and animal health, the environment and many other areas.
University of Texas at Austin — Like the state it calls home, The University of Texas at Austin is a bold, ambitious leader supporting some 52,000 diverse students, 3,000 teaching faculty, and top national programs across 18 colleges and schools. As Texas’ leading research university, UT attracts more than $650 million annually for discovery. Amid the backdrop of Austin, Texas, a city recognized for its creative and entrepreneurial spirit, the university provides a place to explore countless opportunities for tomorrow’s artists, scientists, athletes, doctors, entrepreneurs and engineers. We’re stronger when we work together. That’s why Texas values partnerships in education, research and community service — with businesses, our military and veteran connections, community groups and other non-profits to make an even bigger impact on our city, state and world.
Virginia Tech — With campuses in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, and the Washington D.C. metro area, Virginia Tech’s research enterprise encompasses almost $600 million in annual research expenditures. With roots in agriculture and engineering, Virginia Tech is home to several top 10 programs, 4,000 research faculty, 7 research institutes, and 9 colleges, a graduate school and medical school, all of which contribute to its robust innovation and research ecosystem. Additionally, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences research and extension offices contribute to the state of Virginia’s $82.3 billion industry. Home to a number of serial inventors with nearly 1,000 inventions under active management in wide-ranging areas of science and technology, Virginia Tech’s Innovation and Partnerships team supports faculty to expand the impact of research through increasing core metrics of technology transfer and commercialization. Last year the portfolio yielded 169 disclosures, 29 license deals, and 10 startups.
The GFRP Fund will evaluate intellectual property developed at collaborating universities to identify new developments with the strongest commercialization potential. The GFRP fund will then invest in new companies formed around groundbreaking research. These new companies will be headquartered in rural communities near the collaborating universities.