UNL Innovation Campus Firm Could Get Upgrade from ARPA Funds

Feb. 24, 2022, 6 a.m. ·

Outside view of The Combine. It's a silver metal and glass building.
The Combine is located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Innovation Campus. They help invest in agriculture solution start-ups. (Photo courtesy of The Combine)

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The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is asking for $25 million from Nebraska’s American Rescue Plan funds for a new facility.

The estimated $50 million building would house 60 scientists to research issues in agriculture on UNL’s Innovation Campus. Half of the cost would come from the state’s COVID budget, while the other half would come from private investments.

‘The Combine,’ is a collaboration of public and private partners and may be able to utilize the new building as well. They help entrepreneurs take university research and invest in businesses that make products for farmers and ranchers. Matt Foley is the program director at Invest Nebraska, which partners with ‘The Combine.’ He talked about how they turn an idea into a business.

“One, make sure there’s a problem and validate that problem through customer interviews,” Foley said. “Secondarily, prototyping a solution, what that solution could look like on the market, and then testing that with on-farm research or on-farm testing.”

Foley said they have a network of farmers and ranchers across Nebraska testing products for them. Then, ‘The Combine’ helps the entrepreneurs with the legal and hiring parts of starting a business. He said ‘The Combine’ could use the proposed space to expand and create more businesses.