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Danforth Center wins $1.5 million for location science project

Danforth Center wins $1.5 million for location science project

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Benson Hill overlooks the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

The headquarters of Benson Hill, 1001 N. Warson Road, in St. Louis, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, overlooks the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center's Plant Growth Facility and its more than 40 greenhouses. The center works with Benson Hill. Photo by Hillary Levin,

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has won a $1.5 million federal grant for an innovation initiative combining location science with agriculture.

The U.S. Commerce Department grant, along with $1.5 million in local matching funds, will support a new Center for AgTech and Applied Location Science and Technology, or CATALST.

The grant is one of 50 announced Thursday in the Commerce Department's "build to scale" program, which supports technology entrepreneurship.

The department's description says CATALST will "capitalize on the demand for new precision agriculture technologies by tapping into the St. Louis region’s expertise in ag tech and location science to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship and to advance ideas to commercialization." The money will fund personnel, including interns, and proof-of-concept research for startup companies.

Technologies supported by the new center will include remote imaging and sensing, smart devices and predictive analytics, according to the Commerce Department description. 

"Intentionally pairing the emerging location science cluster with the region’s globally leading ag tech cluster provides a perfect combination to scale innovation-based entrepreneurship," the website adds.

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