Five Years of Impact – MnDRIVE at 5

After five full years of operation, the MnDRIVE Initiative (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy) — a unique State of Minnesota funded partnership with the University of Minnesota — is humming. Designed as a collaborative research partnership meant to align UMN research strength with the state’s key industries, the initiative currently consists of five units: Robotics, Global Food, Environment, Brain Conditions, and Clinical Cancer (added 2017). With state allocations to MnDRIVE over the past five years of nearly $100 million, this investment to attract faculty leaders, hire research staff, renovate lab spaces, purchase equipment, and conduct world-class research has generated tremendous value across all of Minnesota. During the period 2014 through 2019, MnDRIVE-supported researchers have leveraged a $100 million state investment into $360 million in additional research funding from federal agencies and corporate and non-profit partners.

Perhaps the best measure of our success is hearing what our industry partners have to say. Todd DeJournett, a Senior Engineer with Geosyntec and active member of the MnDRIVE Environment Community since the beginning, had this to say in response to our recent announcement of Fall 2019 Seed Grant Awards:

“Having been involved with the MNDRIVE program for several years, I just want to say how impressed I am with the evolution of the projects I’ve seen. This was a really excellent batch of proposals —the best yet — and it was very exciting to review them. The breadth of problems undertaken, the engagement of industry partners, the focus on Minnesota needs — all these things have improved with each cycle. I think that the decision to expand beyond biological processes really opens up the door to greater industry collaboration and really expands the breadth of problems you can tackle for the state. Kudos to you, Paige, Mike, and the faculty for making this program such a success. As a consultant, I can attest to the many benefits of having a vibrant and engaged research community right here in my back yard.”

For further information on the outcomes and impact of five years of MnDRIVE, and highlights of accomplishments from MnDRIVE Environment, please visit the MnDRIVE at 5 webpage.

Chris Cramer
Vice President for Research

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