Archer Daniels Midland, an agricultural refining company based in Decatur, Ill., is examining whether to establish a presence at Kansas University to bolster a working relationship with researchers at the university.
Precise details of any potential ADM presence in Lawrence haven’t been set, including how many people the company would seek to bring, or where they would locate.
“Nothing has been finalized,” said Bala Subramaniam, director of KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, which has been working with ADM for years.
He said any potential new site for ADM researchers would be “a continuation of our partnership.”
KU’s CEBC has been working with the company on a number of projects. The CEBC received a $5.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this year to explore ways of turning biomass into chemicals that could replace the petroleum-based chemicals used in a number of household items.
ADM matched a $1.2 million grant from the Kansas Bioscience Authority in 2009 for work with the CEBC’s biorefining efforts. And ADM invested another $1.4 million with the CEBC as part of its most recent USDA grant.
“It’s a continuation of our partnership,” Subramaniam said.
Garnering interest from ADM, a Fortune 500 company, has been good for KU, said Matthew McClorey, executive director of KU’s Bioscience and Technology Business Center on West Campus.
“Any time you have a company the size of ADM take notice of your technology, it’s a nice validation for your university,” McClorey said.
He said ADM has “discussed various options,” but hadn’t made any final decisions about a Lawrence presence.