President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board LI-COR Biosciences
"Our start-up sales were the direct result of the need for instrumentation created by various USDA-funded research projects. It’s a classic example of the ripple effect. When the tool to make needed measurement wasn’t available, research funds from one project allowed us develop a product that we were later able to sell to other USDA-funded projects."
Dr. Max Clegg
Dr. Jerry Eastin
Dr. Jerry Maranville
Dr. Charles Sullivan
TSC MEMBER INSTITUTION(S):
University of Nebraska
US Department of Agriculture
ENVIRONMENTAL AND BIOTECHNOLOGY RESEARCH SYSTEMS
ABOUT THE COMPANY:
From the extremes of the rainforests in South America to the harsh conditions of the Antarctic, and to cutting-edge research laboratories around the globe, scientists rely on products from LI-COR Biosciences to provide answers to their questions. LI-COR first introduced scientific instruments for plant science research and quickly grew to provide scientists tools for such diverse disciplines as atmospheric research and the study of how proteins interact at the cellular level. Today LI-COR is a global leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of scientific instruments for plant biology, biotechnology, drug discovery, and environmental research. More than 30,000 customers in more than 100 countries use LI-COR instruments. In addition to its Lincoln, Nebraska headquarters, LI-COR has offices in Germany and the United Kingdom. The company also sells products through a global network of distributors.
UNIVERSITY-BASED RESEARCH CONNECTION:
In the late 1960s, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln started a large project to develop sorghum as a food product. William Biggs was hired to develop research instruments for the project. One of the instruments Biggs helped design — an accurate, inexpensive sensor and meter for measuring photosynthetically active radiation — was described in an article in the journal Ecology. Soon after, scientists from laboratories around the world began requesting similar instruments. In 1971, Biggs co-founded the Lambda Instruments Corporation to manufacture these sensors and other products. The name was formally changed to LI-COR in 1978.
ROLE OF FEDERAL RESEARCH FUNDING:
Initial funding for the research project on light transmission in sorghum fields which led to development of the research instruments was provided by the Rockefeller Foundation. The US Department of Agriculture, particularly Hatch Act funding for Agricultural Experiment Station research, played a significant role in funding the university professors, their graduate students, their laboratories, and their research projects.
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