UMN Deepens Partnership at “Sandia Day”

Collage of images depicting technology, and text that reads "75 - Sandia National Laboratories"

Twenty-eight researchers and leaders from Sandia National Labs visited the University of Minnesota on April 10 for “Sandia Day at the UMN” to learn more about UMN’s research and capabilities and to deepen research cooperation.

The University currently has 11 active research projects with Sandia across the fields of ecology, aerospace engineering, and computer engineering, and a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2021. Through the many connections made during the day and the Sandian representatives’ enthusiastic response to the University, UMN Vice President for Research and Innovation Shashank Priya predicts that the number of partnerships will continue to increase, particularly in the areas of microelectronics, data science, materials, cybersecurity, and climate. The Research and Innovation Office and several colleges are also planning seminars and faculty exchanges with Sandia as part of the ongoing relationship. Sandia also hosted recruiting sessions for interested UMN undergraduate and graduate students.

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UMN’s Steve Corkery explains the role of the Corporate Engagement Center for Sandia visitors.

The morning’s activities during “Sandia Day” included lab tours of the Nano Center, the Drone Lab, and the Characterization Facility, where Sandia staff were shown just a taste of UMN’s technical capabilities. In the afternoon, Sandia representatives were introduced to the MIX, Technology Commercialization, and Corporate Engagement Center, and were provided updates on the University’s National Security Research Initiative. An existing successful partnership with Sandia with the Technological Leadership Institute and the Center for Medical Device and Health Care Cybersecurity was also showcased.

people stand in a lab, discussing technology
UMN’s Greg Hausted (right) gives a tour of the UMN Char Fac lab. 
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Sandia’s Amy Shrouf presents Sandia’s mission and overviews its work for UMN researchers. 

The main part of the day involved five topical sessions, where Sandia staff and UMN researchers shared their work in the areas of materials science/advanced manufacturing/microelectronics, cybersecurity, aerospace and hypersonics, climate, and AI. These engaging, technical sessions drew deep and sustained interest from the Sandia visitors, who were able to sample the breadth and depth of UMN’s cutting-edge research. Sandia visitors also met with UMN’s Corporate Engagement Center to hear more about how the University is deepening collaboration with key companies and heard a presentation on the planned Minnesota Innovation Exchange (The MIX), a planned multi-use development on the eastern edge of the East Bank Campus with space for companies, labs, dining, and housing, among other purposes.

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UMN VP Shashank Priya asks a question of Sandia guests. 
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Sandia’s Lori Torres overviews career opportunities for UMN graduate students and postdocs. 

Sandia representatives were given a guided campus tour by the University’s enthusiastic student tour guides, a pleasant outing on a sunny, warm April day. Having never had a guided campus tour, some of the UMN team asked for a memorable fact. We learned that the University has more escalators than the entire state of Wyoming! 

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Steve Marley, Evann Laird, Laura Fingerson, Jenn Troup, Amy Shrouf, Shashank Priya, Ken Patel.

UMN researchers interested in learning more about potential partnerships with Sandia National Labs can contact Laura Fingerson, RIO’s chief of staff, at