Driving Economic Growth through Industry Clustering

Posted February 20, 2024
workforce from Johnson County, Iowa in the biosciences industry cluster

This month, we dive into industry clustering. Industry clustering refers to the geographical concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and institutions within a particular sector. This phenomenon creates a synergistic environment where companies can benefit from shared resources, specialized labor pools, knowledge spillovers, and collaborative opportunities.


The greater Iowa City area has the necessary local ingredients to advance several thriving industry clusters with a strong educational institution like the University of Iowa, robust healthcare infrastructure, a community rich in the humanities, and a burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem. Among the various sectors ripe for clustering, biosciences stand out. With the convergence of academia, healthcare providers, research institutions, and successful biotech startups like Integrated DNA Technology, Perspective Therapeutics, and JMI Labs – greater Iowa City emerges as a hub for bioscience innovation.


Our area boasts a wealth of research expertise and resources in the life sciences, ranging from biomedical engineering to pharmaceuticals. The University of Iowa’s renowned medical and biological research programs, coupled with the presence of the UI Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City VA Health Care System, and other facilities, provide a fertile ground for collaboration and knowledge exchange. Moreover, Iowa’s rich agricultural heritage offers unique opportunities for biotechnology applications and cross-state collaborations on technologies around genetics and pharma.


Greater Iowa City, Inc. (Greater IC) cultivates this industry cluster through encouraging collaboration between UI and industry leaders and programming with thought leaders specific to biotech needs. To continue to grow the bioscience cluster, it is essential that leadership in biosciences look to our region as a place where they trust local community leaders to understand their needs and be a force multiplier for growth of their company. The Iowa Research Park and the UI BioVentures Center is the perfect example of a place designed for the needs of biotech companies working to set them up for success. Greater IC is proud of a continued partnership with leaders there.


We also proactively pursue business attraction opportunities in biosciences. At any given time, Greater IC is working with multiple bioscience leaders across the country and world to share the opportunity in this region as they consider expansion. These leaders also hear about our region at conferences like the Bio International Convention and more locally with our partners at IowaBio. By strategically nurturing sectors like biosciences, we can capitalize on our existing assets, foster innovation, and position ourselves as dynamic hubs for a variety of industries. Through collaborative efforts among stakeholders, policymakers, and industry players, the greater Iowa City area can unlock our full potential and pave the way for sustained prosperity and growth.  Want to hear more from local leaders in the biosciences to share with your network? Connect with Austin Korns.