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UMN and Sandia National Labs Kick Off Partnership to Advance National Security Research: pictures of Susan Seestrom, Michael Oakes, and Andrew G. Alleyne

The University of Minnesota (UMN) and Sandia National Laboratories are implementing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) as a foundation for increased research interactions and collaborations between individual staff, faculty, and students at the two institutions.

University of Minnesota officials and researchers and their Sandia counterparts met at Sandia in February to explore potential areas of collaboration. The MOU was signed last May, and runs for five years, but coronavirus complications delayed an official kickoff meeting until mid-February.

“This is an exciting opportunity to leverage the capabilities and facilities of both Sandia, which is at the cutting edge of national security fields such as cybersecurity, hypersonics, and material science, and the U of M, which is a leading public research university that graduates nearly 17,000 highly skilled students annually across our five campuses,” said J. Michael Oakes, UMN interim vice president for research. “We believe this agreement sets the stage for new research opportunities for faculty, staff and students, as well as new opportunities in the national security space for UMN graduates.” The effort is expected to help the University meet the objectives set forth in its MPact 2025 strategic plan

Oakes, new UMN Twin Cities College of Science & Engineering Dean Andrew G. Alleyne and UMN OVPR Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives Amy Kircher traveled to Sandia and were joined remotely by a dozen University of Minnesota researchers already partnering with Sandia. They met with their Sandia counterparts to discuss further potential collaboration in areas of national security research.

Susan Seestrom, chief research officer at Sandia National Laboratories said that researchers at Sandia and UMN have already begun cooperating, and that the kickoff meeting surfaced many new areas of opportunities.

“Sandia researchers have been involved with the launch of the University’s new Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity,” said Seestrom. "And we look forward to other collaborations that will advance our laboratories’ national security objectives, leverage the capabilities and facilities of both our institutions and introduce more UMN students to future opportunities at Sandia and in the national security ecosystem.”

Sandia National Laboratories, which is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is operated and managed by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc. National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and supports numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations.