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. Launched a little over five years ago, MnDRIVE receives $22 million annually from the state to support research in five strategic areas⸺Robotics, Global Food, EnvironmentBrain Conditions, and 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.

Since its inception, MnDRIVE research across the five research areas has involved more than 1,200 researchers in more than 150 departments and dozens of colleges across three campuses (Twin Cities, Duluth, and Morris). Learn more about how MnDRIVE's first five years helped to attract faculty who are leaders in their fields, hire research staff, renovate lab spaces, purchase equipment, and conduct world- class research with direct relevance to the residents and industries of Minnesota.

See more MnDRIVE at 5 program milestones and highlights.