Great Ape Trust of Iowa and Iowa State University on Monday signed an agreement to cooperate in primate studies, with bonobos watching the announcement through a pane of glass in their sprawling southeast Des Moines home.
The pact eventually is expected to lead to the development of new master’s and doctoral programs in primatology at ISU. In the short-term, it is expected to make it easier for Great Ape Trust and the university to attract grants from the federal government and elsewhere for research, officials from the trust and ISU said. And it may bring discussions of similar agreements involving the University of Northern Iowa or the University of Iowa.
The agreement has no immediate affect on either institution's budget.
The Des Moines-based ape research and conservation center called the pact with ISU “”the world’s pre-eminent collaboration for primate studies.”
“Iowa State University is one of the finest research institutions in the world, and our agreement to create the pre-eminent collaboration for primate studies solidifies Great Ape Trust for the long-term,” said ape trust founder Ted Townsend, a Des Moines businessman. “This partnership for profound science adds a unique and powerful distinction to our state.”
ISU President Gregory Geoffroy said Great Ape Trust is an educational and research resource offering “tremendous opportunities for our faculty and students and the university as a whole.”
“Together, The Trust and Iowa State make a great team in the study of primates and the environment that we share with them,” Geoffroy said. The National Institutes of Health and other grant-awarding agencies often consider applications with university affiliations more prestigious. That should help the ape trust, which opened in 2004 and still is unknown in some circles.