The westernmost point of the Research Triangle is the K-State Olathe Innovation Campus. By partnering with businesses in applied and translational research and development, the campus finds innovative solutions to complex problems and tailors education to workforce needs. Faculty, staff and students apply new ways of learning and discovery through interdisciplinary, cross-generational partnerships and the creative design thinking process.
The groundbreaking of the $28 million, 110,000-square-foot LEED-Silver certified facility took place in November 2009, and the campus opened in April 2011. Since that time, K-State Olathe has made a significant impact in the time since its opening and grown to nearly 50 faculty and staff members.
Eleven graduate degree programs are now offered including Agribusiness (animal health cohort), Horticulture (emphasis in urban food systems), Food Science, Adult and Continuing Education, Biomedical Sciences (Veterinary), and Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering. In addition, a Professional Science Master’s degree that combines advanced sciences knowledge and professional skills is now available to help meet the growing need for leaders in STEM professions. Four graduate certificates also are available to students to help enhance their technical skills, professional and business knowledge and build hands-on experience.
Responding to industry needs, faculty, staff and industry leaders develop non-credit workshops and educational opportunities that are customizable and delivered in-person and online. Growth of the campus will occur with future buildings on the 38-acre site in the Kansas Bioscience Park
More than 40,000 people have attended conferences, specialized training and professional development opportunities since 2011. In addition, over 16,000 K-12 students and teachers have participated in science and career programs and workshops.
The campus partners with diverse companies in the region, including leaders in the KC Animal Health Corridor that represent 75 percent of global animal health-related sales of over $19 billion annually. The corridor stretches from Manhattan, Kan., to Columbia, Mo., putting K-State Olathe in a prime location to collaborate with these companies and promote bioscience and technology.
The campus provides access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities while inspiring an entrepreneurial culture to further economic development in the region. The Food Innovation Accelerator includes top-notch facilities and experts to help small and large businesses develop or enhance products, expand manufacturing capabilities and test their goods. Additional examples of K-State Olathe collaborations include:
- In partnership with the K-State Research and Extension and Horticulture Center, Olathe researchers are engaging on projects related to urban food systems. A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is supporting studies on shelf life, quality and packaging of tomato, spinach and other food crops after harvest. The first-ever international Urban Food Symposium is being held at K-State Olathe in 2016, which will bring together experts from around the world to spotlight urban food systems and the role they play in global food security.
- Merck Animal Health has provided a three-year award in partnership with K-State's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for a Microbial Surveillance Laboratory with capacity to process samples at a rapid rate as well as train students in new types of analytical instrumentation.
- Ceva Biomune, a Lenexa-based animal health vaccine manufacturer, utilizes laboratory space at the Kansas State University Olathe campus for part of its quality control operations. The satellite lab is conducting part of the company's non-regulated production and environmental control testing.
- SORA Medical Solutions LLC, an Overland Park-based company founded by five physicians, is using research space at K-State Olathe campus to develop its clinical decision support software called ApolloMED. While the data analysis is being conducted at K-State’s Manhattan campus, the university's Olathe campus provides SORA an access point to the resources in Manhattan, as well as a pipeline of students in the biomedical and engineering fields.