The Danforth Plant Science Center recently announced plans to launch the Center for AgTech and Applied Location Science and Technology (CATALST), in St. Louis, Missouri. The new center will connect St. Louis’ strengths in geospatial technology and agtech to drive innovation and startup creation around precision agriculture technologies.
The Danforth Center will spearhead the initiative in partnership with innovation driver BioSTL and innovation and entrepreneurship center T-REX. The initiative aims to achieve that mission by offering proof-of-concept assistance, access to talent and resources, and programming.
“Intentionally pairing the region’s emerging location science cluster with our globally recognized agtech cluster provides a perfect combination to scale innovation-based entrepreneurship that will stimulate new company growth and the commercialization of new technologies that will create jobs for a broad and diverse population,” said Stephanie Regagnon, Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships at the Danforth Center. “This provides St. Louis with a distinct competitive advantage to take a leadership role in the fourth industrial revolution and strengthen our economic competitiveness for future generations.”
As part of its involvement with the new center, BioSTL will assist ventures through its business validation and development programs. For example, BioSTL said its Early Adopter Growing Innovation Community initiative will help startups and researchers access testing sites and pilot customers. It also plans to use its Career Fund for paid interns for companies.
“CATALST allows BioSTL to scale up proven programs that help startups fill gaps and meet challenges,” said Justin Raymundo, Manager of Regional Workforce Strategy at BioSTL. “This includes the essential talent needed at the research bench to advance R&D from proof-of-concept to commercialization and the critical connections between startup companies and early-adopter farmers willing to test or purchase a new product. It’s a win for startup companies, and it’s a win for developing and growing St. Louis’ talent pool.”
The Danforth Center said it will host workshops while T-REX, which has placed an emphasis on geospatial technology, plans to stage programming around geospatial technology and the technology’s role in agriculture.
“We are excited to leverage our existing geospatial resources, including our Geospatial Innovation Center, our network of experts and corporate partners, and our new EDA-funded Extended Reality Lab and associated Extended Reality Consortium to support the CATALST,” said Patty Hagen, T-REX’s President and Executive Director. “Expanding these resources into the agtech space will create opportunities for exponential economic growth that will serve the entire St. Louis region.”