ASU Innovation Center Expected to Boost Research Output

JONESBORO -- The new Innovation Center at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute officially opened Friday afternoon and is expected to take research up a notch at Arkansas State University.

The area's only business incubator should enhance the region's strong, plant-based biological sciences research. The center features more than 9,000-SF of wet lab space and will provide entrepreneurs with business planning and market research services.

It will partner with ASU's Delta Center for Economic Development, the ASU College of Business, the Arkansas Small Business & Technology Development Center and Innovate Arkansas, and is just the third incubator of its kind in Arkansas. Others are located at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

"This is a really good day for Jonesboro and ASU," said Innovate Arkansas advisor Slaton Fry. "There were already world-class researchers here. This is a major step on the way to turning that research into commercialization."

Innovation Center director Brian Rogers said the center will provide a cohesive ecosystem for university scientists, entrepreneurs and investors.

"This program can be a catalyst to translate research and innovation and create jobs," he said.

Several startups have already begun using the center's lab space. ASU interim chancellor Dan Howard said the center fits perfectly with ASU's new mission to become a research-intensive institution and begin adding more doctoral programs. In addition to spawning startups at ASU, the center is expected to boost the local economy.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for existing companies to collaborate with ASU," said Mark Young, president and CEO of the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce. "This center represents jobs and investments. Entrepreneurship and innovation are at the heart of all economic growth."