Fueling Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Advance Precision Agriculture Technologies

The Center for AgTech and Applied Location Science and Technology (CATALST) aims to capitalize on the demand for new precision ag technologies by tapping into the St. Louis region’s expertise in agtech and location science to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship and to advance ideas to commercialization. 

Center for AgTech and Applied Location Science and Technology (CATALST)

The Center for AgTech and Applied Location Science and Technology (CATALST) is a unique partnership between the Danforth Plant Science Center, BioSTL and T-REX.

By merging the digital and biological worlds, scaling the region’s expertise, research, technology, infrastructure, and access to end users in agtech (precision agriculture, genomics, automated phenotyping, water and nitrogen use efficiency) and location sciences (geospatial, machine learning, AI, big data analytics, drones, satellite, hyper/multi spectral thermal, smart sensors, field tagging and plant tracking), CATALST provides an unprecedented opportunity to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship to accelerate new company growth and the commercialization of new technologies that will create high quality jobs for a broad and diverse population, strengthen economic competitiveness for future generations and help secure U.S. Agriculture’s competitive advantage. 

The Danforth Center, BioSTL and T-REX are unique in their combined ability to converge stakeholders across academia, business, government and nonprofit sectors and have continued to expand access to infrastructure resources that help attract scientific and startup talent. These programs have created new mechanisms for building an innovation economy by derisking technology and supporting entrepreneurs as they shape and grow their businesses, helping to launch a stream of new, viable startup companies providing high-paying jobs.

The Danforth Center will pair entrepreneurs with scientists to conduct research to validate and de-risk their agriculture technology applications, such as remote imaging and sensing, smart devices and predictive data analytics, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. In addition the Danforth Center’s Data Science team will host workshops on foundational and cutting-edge techniques in data science, bioinformatics, statistical analysis, data visualization, other computational techniques location/data science for entrepreneurs across career stages, to strengthen data analytic capacity of talent to fuel startups as they grow in the region. 

Intentionally pairing the region’s emerging location science cluster with our globally recognized agtech cluster provides a perfect combination to scale innovation-based entrepreneurship.

Stephanie Regagnon Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships, Danforth Center


Source Innovation
Technology Validation
Access to a Skilled Workforce
Guide Entrepreneurial Growth
Secure Customer Feedback

Host events that will heighten awareness and engagement between geospatial and agtech experts and will demonstrate St. Louis’s leadership in both areas.

Provide access to proof-of-concept partnerships between entrepreneurs and scientists and access to infrastructure to conduct research to validate and de-risk their technology applications, such as remote imaging and sensing, smart devices and predictive data analytics, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning

Provide an affordable skilled workforce to advance R&D by facilitating the recruitment and placement of skilled interns from area academic programs and support talent recruitment as their business grows

Educate and train  innovators in entrepreneurial practices facilitating new company formation, business plan and financial modeling, market analysis, and data analytics. Offer networking opportunities and introductions  to experts, investors and accelerators

Connect  startups with pilot field sites and customers to give early access and feedback to innovations that improve their on-farm economics and overall competitive advantage.

Meet Our CATALST Partners

Since 2001, St. Louis nonprofit BioSTL has laid the foundation for the region's innovation economy with a comprehensive set of transformational programs that elevate St. Louis’ leadership in solving important world challenges in agriculture, medicine, health care, and other technology areas. BioSTL has introduced nationally-acclaimed initiatives in startup creation and investment, strategic business attraction, entrepreneur support, seed and venture capital, laboratory space, a diverse and inclusive workforce, access to growers and producers, and public policy.

T-REX was founded in 2011 and is home to over 200 companies and organizations located within the 160,000 square foot facility. T-REX recently launched a seed fund program for the expansion of geospatial research in the region, and completed construction of its $5 million Geospatial Innovation Center, a cutting-edge research and collaboration center for innovation, technology commercialization, and workforce development. It is designed to provide breakthrough solutions and entrepreneurial opportunities to the geospatial industry--leveraging national experts, world class facilities, disruptive innovation processes, and extensive networks of expertise. The Department of Defense National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA West) Moonshot Lab, also located at TREX, specializes in geospatial technology, software developers, technologists and data science personnel and will advance efforts between NGA, industry and academia in the region. 

If you are interested in participating in the CATALST program, please reach out to Elliott Kellner, Director of Commercial Innovation, Innovation Team. 

Ensuring Diversity

CATALST partners are committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable innovation economy that benefits all of our region’s diverse community members. 

We believe that inclusive and equitable talent development and deployment systems, entrepreneurial supports, and management processes are vital for economic growth and regional competitiveness, especially for scaling commercial ventures.


Stephanie Regagnon Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships, Danforth Center


39 North - The Intersection of Agrifood Geospatial Technology

As home to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s western headquarters, we are applying our regional strengths in location science, smart devices, remote imaging and sensing, AI, and machine learning to accelerate the pace of innovations that make the agri-food industry more secure, agile and sustainable. Venture capital, accelerator programs, innovation districts, and other forms of wrap-around support are creating a gravitational pull toward St. Louis. This well-resourced ecosystem fuels the growth of dynamic agri-food tech and geospatial startups and helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into commercialized solutions.

Meet the Team

Elliott Kellner

Director of Commercial Innovation, Innovation Team

Contact Us