New Award Program Celebrates Impact of Research & Innovation

A new program aims to celebrate the impact of research conducted across the University of Minnesota.

The Innovation Impact Case Award, launched by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), recognizes research that has led to significant impact outside of academia and has made a meaningful difference in our communities or beyond. The award celebrates work that solves challenges and benefits individuals, organizations, and communities. Applications open on October 5.

“At a time when the public is split in its support for science and research, it’s vital to more effectively share the tremendous impacts our research has on the state and the world,” said Michael Oakes, PhD, interim vice president for research. “We must replace the long-outdated notion of an ‘Ivory Tower’ and demonstrate how our vibrant research enterprise not only advances technologies, developing everything from amazing new apple varieties to life-saving medicines, but also creates profitable companies, jobs, and sometimes even new industries.”

The award defines impact and innovation broadly, inclusive of work in all disciplines, from the development of policy to the production of new cell lines to creation of a product. It considers nine areas of research impact: academic, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, health, political, social, and technological.

The award program is open to University researchers across all disciplines and campuses systemwide. Applicants will be asked to provide a short written case study highlighting the impact of research to an external audience, as well as any compelling photos, illustrations, or videos that help to tell the story of the research. OVPR will select two individuals or teams to receive the award, with a prize of $10,000.

As the University’s research enterprise continues to grow, Oakes sees the new program as a way to step beyond the numbers and show specific instances of how research benefits society.

“My hope is that we are able to better collect and share more stories about the impact of the University's research outside of the academy, and to celebrate the winners with all the pomp and circumstance they deserve,” he said.

Apply Now

The award program is now accepting applications. Visit the Innovation Impact Case Award page to learn more about eligibility requirements and apply. Applications are due by November 24.