Four international agribusiness giants engage in collaborative work in North Carolina State University’s Plant Science Building


Four international agribusiness leaders will soon be moving to NC State University. Bayer, BASF, SAS and Novozymes have agreed to collaborate with NC State University researchers at the new Plant Sciences Building, a state-of-the-art facility at the heart of the university’s NC Plant Sciences Initiative (NC PSI), an effort that fosters interdisciplinary teamwork between universities, industry, government and growers to solve the most complex plant science challenges locally and globally.

The new model of industry collaboration brings together the brightest minds from multinational corporations with NC State faculty in a space that intentionally intersects science, technology, and the marketplace to foster innovative thinking and collaborative problem solving. Through NC PSI, NC State scientists and staff will seamlessly integrate research and talent from across the university while working hand-in-hand with biologists, engineers, computer scientists, innovation leaders , analytics specialists and other private industry experts to cultivate sound thinking and drive solution-based results where agriculture and society overlap.

“NC State is leveraging its strengths across the university in partnership with global agriculture leaders to drive innovation in plant science,” said Dr. Randy Woodson, Chancellor of NC State University. “Building on our existing partnerships with Bayer, BASF, SAS and Novozymes, we will accelerate solutions and maximize our impacts for our stakeholders here in NC and around the world.”

Located in the heart of NC State’s Centennial Campusthe NC State Plant Sciences Building is an important factor in attracting multinational partners as well as outstanding faculty and students from around the world.

“The building itself will accelerate workforce development and talent acquisition within the agriculture industry, as its innovative design allows us to create an ecosystem where industry can connect with students to better prepare them for a career,” said NC Executive Director Dr. Adrian Percy. Plant Science Initiative. “It will also serve as a gathering point across the agriculture industry to provide a way for a wide range of stakeholders to engage in important conversations in a neutral space.”

Access to state-of-the-art tools and equipment, co-working spaces and interdisciplinary research teams enables industry and academia to collaborate effectively to address the grand challenges facing food, health and farming. The 185,000 square foot world-class facility houses:

  • Maker space – a 1,050 square foot lab environment for rapid prototyping of low-cost custom hardware and software solutions for monitoring plants and cropping systems at all agricultural scales.
  • Thinking group – The Data Science Hub which will house top-notch data scientists, bioinformaticians, computational biologists and high-end analytical systems.
  • Three central university facilities – Center for Cellular and Molecular Imaging (CMIF), Laboratory of Genomic Sciences (GSL), Center for Molecular Education, Technology and Innovation in Research (METRIC). Managed by the University Office of Research and Innovation, these central facilities will bring new equipment and capabilities to support PSI-affiliated projects, as well as the wider research community.
  • Four “Blue Box” precision growth chambers – Custom-designed plant growth chambers, courtesy of longtime NC State partner Syngenta, are equipped with unique capabilities that allow researchers to precisely control the plant growth atmosphere. There are only eight growth chambers in the world built to these specifications.
  • Roof greenhouses BSL 2 and 3 – Eleven rooftop greenhouses, covering 10,000 square feet, will provide fully conditioned under glass growing environments in a mix of BL2-P and BL3-P greenhouses. Connected to the BL3-P greenhouse, the BSL3 laboratory will allow NC PSI researchers to conduct unique experiments on selected plant infectious agents and organisms.
  • Demonstration laboratory – A fully functional laboratory will serve as an exhibition area for the general public to see first-hand some of the NC PSI research taking place inside the building.
  • Open offices and collaborative spaces developed as “neighborhoods” with great transparency and connectivity between the laboratory and the office.
  • Seminar and event space for continuous learning and exchange of ideas.

Bayer, BASF, SAS and Novozymes have each committed to a one-year lease. NC PSI is open to welcoming additional well-aligned partners with complementary skills who understand the significant impacts of this type of collaborative work on farms and communities. The building was inaugurated on April 12 and the teams will begin moving the week of April 25.


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