Governor of Victoria, Australia, Visits UMN to Learn About Innovation in Minnesota and Deepen Partnerships

Governor Gardner speaks with a microphone

RIO hosted the Governor of Victoria, Australia, Her Excellency Margaret Gardner, and her party on Thursday, June 6. This visit to UMN was part of a larger visit to Minnesota, deepening the relationship between Minnesota and Victoria stemming from Minnesota Governor Walz’s trade mission to Victoria last fall that Vice President for Research and Innovation Shashank Priya took part in.

The visit started with a tour of the Minnesota Nano Center, which has several collaborations within Australia. Then, the party heard a presentation on the UMN International Institute for Biosensing (IIB), which is partnering with researchers at Monash University, one of Australia’s leading research universities and where the Governor served as president and vice chancellor from 2014-2023.

Group of twelve standing in a row
In front of the MN Nano Center: Carolin McCaffrey, Director, Investment and Trade, Life Sciences; Laura Aguilar, Research & Visitor Project Officer; Nigel Warren, Commissioner to the Americas; Matt Lewis, VP of Strategic Initiatives, GreaterMSP; Jonathan Burke, Official Secretary of the Governor; Governor of Victoria, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Margaret Gardner AC; VPR Shashank Priya; Brian Olmsted, Associate Director of Laboratory Operations, Minnesota Nano Center; Rachel Limon, Regional Trade Manager and Protocol Officer, Minnesota Trade Office, DEED; Sang-Hyun Oh, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; James Marti, Senior Scientist and Outreach Coordinator, Minnesota Nano Center; Nate Myszka, Director, State Government Affairs, Medtronic

Over lunch, the visiting party heard from a panel of leaders in Minnesota’s medical innovation ecosystem, including leaders from UMN’s Tech Comm, GreaterMSP, MN DEED, Launch Minnesota, Medical Alley, Medtronic, and two startups, Vocxi Health and SecondWave Systems. Several of the panelists described how the Minnesota Med Tech 3.0 initiative brings together research institutions, industry, and public leaders to support and strengthen this ecosystem. UMN and MedTech 3.0 leadership have begun discussions to partner with the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), headquartered in Melbourne in Victoria, on a small business exchange program.

Dressen speaks to among a tabled panel
Medical Alley President and CEO Roberta Dressen addresses a panel on medical innovation and business. 
Governor Gardner speaks at a luncheon table
Governor Gardner speaks at a lunch event.
Khashyar speaking in front of a presentation screen
UMN IIB Director Patricia Khashyar presents on the potential of biosensing for different industries in Minnesota.

Throughout the visit, the Governor and her party were very interested in how UMN’s ecosystem supports innovative ideas from university research through commercialized products via startups and licensing to existing medical device companies. She expressed her excitement for growing and strengthening the collaborative efforts with Minnesota. In her closing remarks, she complimented the uniqueness of Minnesota’s med tech ecosystem, describing it as “innovation for the global good.”

Going forward, with support from RIO, the Minnesota Med Tech 3.0 team and University research teams including the IIB, plan to deepen partnerships with Monash University, ANFF, the Victorian government, and other State organizations. 

large group stands together
Visitors from Victoria and event guests and organizers.