Q. What's happening in economic development in Missouri?
A. The Department of Economic Development over the last few years has been repositioning to focus on the specific clusters of life sciences, information technology, national security, defense, and homeland security.
Missouri has a traditionally strong research base; we are consistently in the top 10 states for federally funded research, with more than $1 billion in federal funds coming into the state each year. Our primary research institutions include Washington University, University of Missouri, and private research institutions such as the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.
As a world leader in plant biotech, we have more plant science Ph.D.s than anywhere else in the world. The Danforth Center, Washington University, the Botanical Gardens, Monsanto, the NIDUS Center for Scientific Enterprise, Solae, and other public and private institutions in that cluster continue to attract startup companies focusing on clean and green technology, bio-renewables, and renewable energy. In the life sciences, Pfizer and Monsanto are engines for innovation.
An active agriculture/biotechnology animal health corridor has been identified from Columbia, Missouri to Manhattan, Kansas. Kansas City, Missouri, has more agricultural-biotechnology and animal health companies than anywhere else in the world. Veterinary schools such as the University of Missouri at Columbia and Kansas State in Manhattan and animal health and research companies are helping to create a huge research hub in this area.
We are doing a lot of work to expand the national security sector. Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems facility is headquartered in St. Louis. A lot of work is being done at Fort Leonard Wood and at the University of Missouri Tech Park at Fort Leonard Wood. Defense contractors are doing research and business with the Army Research Lab to provide new military technologies.
Q. How have incentives helped growth?
A. The Missouri Development Finance Board has invested $15 million in tax credits for the expansion of the Center of Research Technology and Entrepreneurial Expertise (CORTEX) area in St. Louis, bordered by Washington University, St. Louis University, and the Botanical Gardens. The funds include $10 million to expand the CORTEX Technology Park and $5 million to expand the Center for Emerging Technologies incubator.