Kansas sees $7.8 million investment for Bioscience, Tehcnology Incubator Facility

13 News at Six
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 10:07 AM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - A new facility at the University of Kansas is expected to create 225 jobs in Lawrence.

An official from the U.S. Department of Commerce was in Kansas Thursday to announce their investment in the state’s bioscience and technology sector.

Anthony Foti, with the Department of Commerce said, “I am pleased to announce the EDA is investing $7.8 million in the university’s Bioscience and Technology Business Center to build a new facility to increase entrepreunerial and research opportunities in the bioscience and technology sector.”

The grant will be matched with over $14 million in state and local funds. It said it is expected to create 225 jobs, retain over 100 jobs and generate $142 million in private investment.

The project will feature fully-functional wet lab space and offices for startups.

“The Trump Administration is committed to empowering our nation’s entrepreneurs so they can innovate, thrive, and create new jobs for Americans,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Governor Laura Kelly (D)-Kansas said, “The Phase III expansion will further the Bioscience & Technology Business Center’s (BTBC) mission and the mission of my administration to create a local infrastructure of talent, resources, and business support that fosters sustainable economic resiliency in our state.”

“We’re a state of farmers and ranchers," said Sen. Jerry Moran (R)-Kansas. "We’re a state of people who manufacture airplanes. We’re a state of people who provide the energy for our country and our world, but I also want us to be the state that provides the scientists, the engineers, the researchers, the mathmeticians and then combine that with the people who have a dream to start a business, and in pursuing their american dream, they fulfill the dreams of many others.”

Kelly and Moran both said the initiative also gives Kansas students more opportunity after graduation.

“This BTBC expansion will bring the kinds of high-wage jobs that will help Kansas retain its young, skilled, and talented STEM graduates," said Kelly.

Moran added, "Those we educate and those we raise in our state, no matter what careers they want to pursue, and particularly if they want to pursue a career in science, technology, research, mathematics, that they have those opportunities in the state of Kansas.”

According to the DOC, the funding goes to one of Kansas' 74 Opportunity Zones. It said created by President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are economic development in economically distressed communities nationwide. It said in June of 2019, the EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, increasing the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about Opportunity Zones, click here.

The DOC said the project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019, providing the EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions and other major natural disasters that occurred in 2018 and floods in 2019.

Topeka will be home to a similar initiative with Plug and Play’s Animal Health Accelerator program launching next week.

In a statement, Katrin Bridges, SVP of Innovation at the Greater Topeka Partnership said, “The EDA’s decision to invest in the biosciences sector in Lawrence, KS is huge for the region. It underscores that Kansas is poised for growth in this sector taking advantage of the significant research, talent, entrepreneurial and corporate assets here.”

Bridges said they look forward to collaborating with the BTBC to become a global hub of animal health, food science and agriculture technology.

She added, “The development of wet lab space is critical for being attractive as a State and as a region to innovators in the field and as Topeka launches its new Plug and Play innovation platform focused on animal health and ag tech innovation, the BTBC is one more important asset the region has to offer."

Oct. 15, 10:07 a.m.

Gov. Kelly to break ground on KU Bioscience, Technology Business Center Project

Governor Laura Kelly is headed to Lawrence to break ground on the new University of Kansas Bioscience and Technology Business Center Project.

Governor Laura Kelly says she will participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for Phase III of the University of Kansas Bioscience and Technology Business Center in Lawrence on Thursday, Oct. 15, at 12 p.m.

Gov. Kelly said she will be joined by Senator Jerry Moran, University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod, Lawrence Mayor Jennifer Ananda, BTBC Executive Char E. LaVerne Epp, U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Anthony Foti and U.S. Department of Commerce Office of External Affairs and Communications Director Joel Jrushone.

For more information on the BTBC, click here.

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