Technology and innovation

Technology and innovation

For students, faculty, and business partners, the University of Minnesota is a center of invention that creates a clear and widespread economic value. The University ranks ninth among public universities in research spending and has an international research footprint in more than 70 countries. Whatever problems are confronting our state and our world, we strive to solve them.

The generosity of corporations and foundations has supported deeper ties between industry and the U of M. Industry engagement has driven groundbreaking discoveries, fostered hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship, and created opportunities for professionals in industry to collaborate with leading talent at the University. Together, we are building the tools that power industry success.

Boston Scientific: Groundbreaking innovations in medical devices

Early support from Boston Scientific to the Driven campaign played a key role in developing the Virtual Prototyping Lab at the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center. Housed within the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center brings together experts from the College of Science and Engineering, Medical School, School of Dentistry, College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Nursing, and the College of Pharmacy.

Starting in 2011, Boston Scientific co-sponsored development of hardware and software within the Virtual Prototyping Lab alongside members of the Bakken Medical Devices Center and the Department of Computer Science. Duplicate virtual reality systems were generated at both the Medical Devices Center and Boston Scientific. Two U.S. patents have been allowed thus far on developments that resulted from this collaboration, highlighting the impact of public-private environments like the Virtual Prototyping Lab: where interdisciplinary and cross-sector innovations can thrive.

Xcel Energy: Pathways to a clean energy future

Organized by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment with generous sponsorship from Xcel Energy, Minnesota’s Clean Energy Future series creates meaningful bipartisan and cross-sector forums where statewide leaders can access cutting-edge information and ideas, build their networks, and explore pathways to a clean energy future.

The series dives deep into key issues facing Minnesota, such as electrification, energy storage, equity in energy transition, multi-sector carbon reduction, and renewable and clean energy standards. Attendees include statewide legislators and city officials, practitioners from around the world, corporate and nonprofit decision-makers, and the Institute’s robust network of researchers and academic experts. Through its convenings, the Clean Energy Future series highlights the many ways in which public-private collaborations can envision and advance the priorities of the University’s Driven campaign: a thriving, carbon-neutral economy, inclusive and equitable energy systems, and a future where people and planet prosper together.

Schwan’s Company: Healthy and sustainable food systems

The first of its kind in the nation, the Plant Protein Innovation Center (PPIC) brings together interdisciplinary researchers and industry partners to produce and study nutritious and functional plant protein ingredients for food applications. Through pre-competitive research, the center focuses on fundamental science that addresses basic needs and challenges of the industry. This work requires the collaboration of key industry players who are driven to work together toward a better future, financially and ecologically.

Through support from the Schwan’s Corporate Giving Foundation for fellowships and student opportunities, the Plant Protein Innovation Center is able to attract top talent and offer financial support to PPIC students. A longtime collaborative relationship with Schwan’s has also enabled the center to address industry-identified plant protein challenges and advance innovations that bring new nutritious and functional plant protein ingredients to the supply chain. This leaves a positive environmental impact, directs revenues to farmers, provides additional sources of protein for a growing population and helps to address consumer demand for nutritious and healthy foods, building healthier and more sustainable food systems for all.

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Contact us if you are a corporate or foundation representative and would like more information about matching your priorities and interests with opportunities and resources at the University.

Elizabeth Wegele

Elizabeth Wegele