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University Research Supports Minnesota’s Economy

Minnesota and University of Minnesota flags

At the University of Minnesota, research plays an important and well-known role in expanding our understanding of the world around us and applying new knowledge toward improving the health, quality of life, and environment of people across Minnesota.

A recent report shows the statewide benefits of University research also extend to economic prosperity. According to an economic impact study conducted by national research firm Tripp Umbach, the University’s research enterprise generated more than $1.2 billion in economic impact within the state in fiscal 2017. This finding was part of the study’s larger results, which noted that the U of M as a whole contributes more than $8.6 billion a year in economic activity to Minnesota and supports nearly 78,000 jobs across the state.

Research activity and spending at the U leads to significant economic, employment, and government revenue impacts throughout the state, the report said. Research supports employment on campus while also supporting the work of vendors, contractors, and laborers who construct, outfit, and renovate University labs. It also fuels a wide variety of other economic activities, such as economic development and entrepreneurship. All told, these activities supported nearly 11,300 jobs throughout the state in fiscal 2017, according to the report.

“As the state’s public research university, we are committed to supporting Minnesota through the discovery of new knowledge and innovative technologies,” said Allen Levine, Ph.D., the U’s vice president for research. “I believe this commitment makes University research a key part of the state’s prosperity—not just through strictly economic measures, but also by striving to make a higher quality of life accessible to more Minnesotans.”

Among the Minnesota-focused research efforts at the U is the MnDRIVE initiative, a state-funded effort to align the U’s research strengths with Minnesota’s key and emerging industries. MnDRIVE aims to address societal challenges through cutting-edge research that often includes collaborators from state industry. The research spans a wide range of projects, from harnessing deep brain stimulation techniques to treat Parkinson’s disease to developing drone-mounted sensors that help farmers more precisely manage fertilizer and pesticide use in their fields.

Another example of state economic benefit comes from the new startup companies based on University research. Three out of every four startups launched by the Venture Center, part of the U’s Office for Technology Commercialization, are based in Minnesota. The Venture Center has launched more than 120 companies since its founding in 2006.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

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