MnDRIVE – Minnesota’s Discovery, Research, and InnoVation Economy – is a partnership between the University of Minnesota and the State of Minnesota that aligns areas of research strength with the state’s key and emerging industries to address grand challenges. In 2013, the State of Minnesota authorized an $18 million recurring annual investment in four research areas: Robotics, Global Food, Environment, and Brain ConditionsIn 2017, the state appropriated another $4 million per year for a fifth research area: Cancer Clinical Trials.

The University of Minnesota Informatics Institute (UMII), which fosters and accelerates data-intensive research, receives partial funding from MnDRIVE and provides key support to these projects. Other areas that receive recurring funding from MnDRIVE include technology commercialization and research infrastructure.

MnDRIVE represents a unique, collaborative research model involving interdisciplinary research projects across the University that address grand challenges and include industry and community partnerships as a key component. Each of the research areas have committees and advisory boards to provide guidance on research objectives.

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) provides accountability measures for the initiative and helps advocate for the program at the state capitol.  Success metrics are tracked across all research areas to assess the impact of MnDRIVE research, education, and industry relationships on economic development and quality of life for Minnesotans. See MnDRIVE success metrics

Recent Highlights

  • MnDRIVE faculty member Sarah Swisher initiated an industry collaboration with NovaCentrix, the industry leader in photonic curing tools for flexible electronics manufacturing. Learn more about Robotics

  • A deep-winter greenhouse prototype has been designed in collaboration with local industry and has the potential to make access to fresh, local greens a reality for more Minnesotans year-round. Learn more about Global Food

  • Research on phosphate removal by MnDRIVE faculty member Mikael Elias, received the University of Minnesota Grand Challenge award. Learn more about Environment

  • The Abbott Infinity System, a deep-brain stimulation device, was implanted for the first time ever in Minnesota by MnDRIVE faculty member Michael Park. Learn more about Brain Conditions

In 2014, OVPR oversaw a Transdisciplinary Research Program to promote cross-disciplinary, collaborative research among the MnDRIVE research areas.