State Relations Update

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Gov. Dayton has released his budget proposal for the 2016-17 biennium. The $42 billion proposal prioritizes education, particularly pre K-12. It includes $32.6 million toward the U's $65.2 million requested tuition freeze and $30 million for the Medical School. Faculty legislative liaisons Lyn Bearinger and Gary Gardner testified in support of the University's budget request. Additionally, the U of M Office of University Economic Development's executive director Maura Donovan and program director Sabine Engel testified in support of legislation that would fund the Minnesota PIPELINE Project, which stands for Private Investment Public Education Labor Industry Experience.

Nature Biotech ranks U in top 5 for life sciences tech transfer

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Across the country, top universities are working to push cutting-edge research from the lab to the market. The University of Minnesota is one of the institutions leading the charge. A Nature Biotechnology report ranks the U's Office for Technology Commercialization fifth overall in life sciences tech transfer and gives the office high rankings in areas like licensing income, patents awarded, and startups launched. The article also illustrates how the U is helping spur new industry partnerships and launch new startups through programs such as the Entrepreneurial Leave Program and Minnesota Innovation Partnerships Program. 

State Relations Update

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On Jan. 21, Gov. Dayton proposed a major new investment in the U of M Med School that would allow the University to hire 50 more medical researchers over the next 8 years, address Minnesota's looming shortage of doctors statewide, secure new grants, and support medical innovation and job creation. Dayton released his full budget on Jan. 27. On Jan. 22, VP for University Services Pam Wheelock presented the U's 2015 Capital Request to the House Capital Investment Committee, and University officials gave on update on MnDRIVE. Register now for the Feb. 3, 2015 Legislative Action Kickoff.

Global Operations: Reducing barriers to international research

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Launched in 2012, the U's Global Operations brings together experts and resources from across the system in the areas of tax, purchasing, legal, human resources, and compliance. Together, the initiative's advisory team and a variety of working groups provide free, personalized, no-fault support that can help mitigate potential risks and reduce project costs in the long term. Global Operations also has access to outside counsel. Researchers can request Global Operations support at any time before or during the research process for projects of all sizes. 

Researchers identify materials to improve biofuel and petroleum processing

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Using one of the largest supercomputers in the world, a team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota has identified potential materials that could improve the production of ethanol and petroleum products. The discovery could lead to major efficiencies and cost savings in these industries. The study was published in the research journal Nature Communications. The U has two patents pending on the research and hopes to license the technologies. 

Feb. 3 – U of M Legislative Action Kickoff

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Register now for the 2015 Legislative Action Kickoff. Attendees will learn more about issues that will affect the U of M during the 2015 legislative session and discover ways to help. No previous political or legislative knowledge required. 4:30-6:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center. Complimentary light refreshments will be served. 

State Relations Update

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The 89th legislative session began Jan. 6. The House is now led by a Republican majority and a DFL minority. Both parties held press conferences to announce their top priorities for 2015. The Senate DFL’s top six bills are focused on Greater Minnesota and workforce education. The House GOP’s bills are focused on five areas: jobs, K-12 education, elder care, transportation, and health care. Learn more about issues that will affect the U of M during the 2015 session and discover ways you can help during a Feb. 3 Legislative Action Kickoff. RSVP to attend. Complimentary light refreshments will be available. 

Research excellence in practice

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

In his annual State of Research report, VP for Research Brian Herman called out several U of M faculty who have demonstrated research excellence through their academic leadership, collaborations with colleagues and other institutions, and scientific advancements that improve our world. Three of these exemplary researchers and some of the current projects they are working on are featured at Inquiry.

Bacteria that derive energy from metals

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A new discovery from researchers Daniel Bond, Caleb Levar and colleagues at the U’s BioTechnology Institute shows how a friendly microbe known as Geobacter is able to thrive in a wide range of environments and emerging biotech applications.

Federal Relations Report

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

In December Congress passed funding for FY15. The bill covers the remaining nine months of FY15 and has a bottom line of $1.1 trillion. The NIH is funded at $30.1 billion, an increase of $150 million; the agency will also receive $238 million from the $5.4 billion emergency package to fight Ebola. The NSF will receive $7.3 billion, an increase of $172 million. The measure also provides $22.5 billion for Pell Grants and allows the maximum award to increase by $100 to $5,830. Federal Work-Study will be increased by $15 million, TRIO programs by $1.5 million, and the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights by $1.6 million. 

Ten reasons the U of M research enterprise is thriving

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Despite increasing competition for federal awards and a persistently difficult funding climate, the U of M, in partnership with its faculty, students, research community and external stakeholders, saw growth in nearly all performance measures in FY2014. Results show a strong research enterprise that has sustained its high ranking among an elite group of public research institutions and is outperforming its peers in the Big Ten.

Growing a sustainable bioeconomy

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A transdisciplinary team of MnDRIVE researchers is partnering with farmers, ag groups, and local governments in Greater Minnesota to develop a sustainable “bioeconomy”—a system of growing and harvesting plant matter as a source of animal feed, eco-friendly fuels, and manufactured goods—that will benefit Minnesota’s farmers and its economy as a whole. The project makes use of new robotics and refining technologies to make harvests easier and more profitable, while using farmland in a way that helps keep the soil fertile and provides ecological benefits for surrounding areas.

Board of Regents meeting highlights

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

During its December meeting, U of M Regents discussed the U's annual research report (Related: Ten reasons our research enterprise is thriving), which showed that researchers are doing about twice as well as expected in competing for federal funds, and that a record number of start-up companies were launched in FY 2014. Additionally, regents were presented with a report on undergraduate education showing that four-year graduation and first-year retention rates are at record high levels. News that the U exceeded all five legislative performance measures for FY2014 and supporting data were also highlighted during the board's final meeting of 2014. 

New Open Access policy

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The University of Minnesota has a new Open Access to Scholarly Articles policy that takes effect Jan. 1. The policy creates new options for University authors who wish to make their research more accessible to the public, via the grant of a limited right to the University to make the work available solely for open access purposes. The policy, initiated by faculty members and approved by the Faculty Senate, also provides that any author may undo the grant of that right to the University, for any reason. The policy applies to articles finished after Dec. 31, 2014. Faculty members need not take any action unless they want to make their work public. Learn more at Open Access FAQ.

Powering vehicles with renewable electricity could save lives

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Driving vehicles that use electricity from renewable energy instead of gasoline could reduce the resulting deaths due to air pollution by 70 percent, according to a new study by U researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study also shows that switching to vehicles powered by electricity made using natural gas yields large health benefits. Conversely, vehicles running on corn ethanol or vehicles powered by coal-based or "grid average" electricity are worse for health.

Taking Flight Through Her Research

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The McNair Scholars program prepares students like JaLeesa Wright to enter graduate programs. Wright collaborated with her McNair adviser, assistant professor of pediatrics Rebecca Shlafer, to study—in samples of children with jailed parents—children's exposure to incarcerated-related events, such as witnessing their parents' arrests, and their common emotional reactions to those events.

Dec. 11-12 – Board of Regents meeting

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Board of Regents will meet Dec. 11-12. Regents plan to review U of M performance and accountability measures set forth by the Minnesota Legislature for fiscal year 2014. Other agenda items include a presentation on the U's research metrics for the past year, a review of achievements and future plans for undergraduate education, and review and action on a number of capital budget amendments for building projects across the U of M system. Additionally, Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller will provide an update on the Governor's Blue Ribbon Committee on the Medical School.

State Relations Update

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The state budget forecast projects a $1.037 billion budget surplus for the 2016-17 biennium. A surplus of $373 million is also forecasted for the end of fiscal year 2015. Gov. Dayton has said his budget proposal to the legislature will likely include funding for childcare tax credits, rural broadband expansion, and early childhood scholarships. The U of M is requesting a $127.2 million increase for its FY 2016-17 biennial budget, and $77 million for three capital projects

Energy Transition Lab: A Hub of Innovation

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A strategic initiative of the U's Institute on the Environment (IonE), the new Energy Transition Lab brings together leaders in government, business, and nonprofit organizations to develop new energy policy pathways and advance needed reform. Ellen Anderson, a former state senator and energy adviser to Minnesota Gov. Dayton, is the ETL's inaugural executive director; its faculty director is Law School Professor Hari Osofsky, an expert in energy law and an IonE resident fellow.

A Smarter Shelf Life

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Food expiration dates are based on how long it takes for bacteria to grow, but they aren't necessarily accurate. Labels like "use by" or "best before" aren't much more reliable than our noses. The result is that 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available U.S. food supply went uneaten in 2010. The estimated value of this loss? More than $160 billion per year. Two U of M researchers have joined forces to bring a solution to market.

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