The research efforts within the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), will streamline and link the efforts of industry and academia toward effective management of arthropod pests serving as an incubator for novel technologies. CAMTech will provide the basic research foundation necessary for the applied goals of industry and extend the utility of current management practices. The goals of CAMTech will be to
(i) Conduct pre-competitive research and transfer knowledge to industrial partners for in house development
(ii) Optimize and extend the versatility of current technologies
(iii) Train undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral scholars for potential future employment within industry.
Research conducted within the Center will fall within four areas of emphasis: 1) Pest tolerant transgenic plants, 2) RNA interference, 3) Insecticide resistance, 4) Novel target sites and methods.
An interdisciplinary team of 26 faculty members has been assembled with University of Kentucky researchers extending and complementing the skills and expertise of Iowa State University researchers. Faculty members are drawn from the Departments of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Agronomy, Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. The areas of expertise within the group range from physiology, biochemistry, toxicology, and virology, to molecular biology, pest management, and plant science. State of the art technologies such as next-generation sequencing, RNA interference, microRNA analysis, high throughput screening, functional genomics and proteomics are used by the team members. Faculty members at both sites have ready access to outstanding biotechnology and bioinformatics facilities (see ISU Service Facilities for Research in Biotechnology). ISU has a particularly strong Plant Sciences program spearheaded by the ISU Plant Sciences Institute. Both directors have extensive experience with leadership and with the transfer of technology relating to the management of insect pests.
The proposed NSF I/UCRC will include two university sites, Iowa State University (lead institution), with Bryony Bonning as Director, and University of Kentucky, with Dr. S. Reddy Palli as Co-Director at that site, and six or more members (industry, commodity boards, others). Membership will be $50,000 per year. The Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), comprised of one voting member from each participating company will provide advice on research priorities and make recommendations on which projects should receive funding. Following establishment of the center, IAB members will convene twice a year, once to review research progress and once to review and rank new project proposals. The Center Director and co-Director, in collaboration with the IAB and taking budgetary considerations into account, will set research goals, and manage the day-to-day operation of the center.
Intellectual property developed during the I/UCRC funding period is shared among members, royalty free. However, if one company wishes to be the sole funder of a particular project, spin-off projects with exclusive licensing agreements can be established. In addition to the clear benefits associated with pooling of combined expertise and skill sets toward the development of novel pest management methods, the center will serve as a source of trained personnel for industry. The NSF currently funds some 50 centers which have proven highly effective for technology transfer.