University economic development office will strengthen business ties statewide

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The University of Minnesota is always seeking new ways to strengthen business partnerships and support economic development efforts in the state and region.

Now, the U has revamped its central business office in its research arm to better connect economic development activities across the university and increase outreach to business partners throughout the state. The Office of University Economic Development will target regional business needs and interests while supporting efforts to attract and retain talented workers and industry leaders to Minnesota.

The UED will take over as the “front door” to the university, a role previously held by the Office of Business Relations, where members of business, industry and external economic development organizations across the state can learn about partnering with the U. Interacting with business leaders will help U researchers discover complex business needs and work to develop solutions through their research.

Dr. Maura Donovan, a former Medtronic executive, will lead the office as executive director. Donovan recently served as chief technology officer for the Decade of Discovery, a joint initiative between the U of M and Mayo Clinic, where she helped to implement public-private partnerships to advance diabetes and obesity research.

“Aligning our economic development actions across the university opens up new possibilities in furthering entrepreneurship and workforce development in Minnesota,” Donovan said. “UED will allow us to facilitate more cross-disciplinary research at the U and develop solutions to our industry partners’ needs.”

With an $8.6 billion annual impact, the university is already an economic engine for the state. From 2006 to 2011, U discoveries and inventions delivered an additional $390 million to the state through patents, licensing, royalties and spin-off companies. UED will allow the U to be more efficient and effective in these fields and introduce new opportunities for regional businesses.

The office, housed within the Office of the Vice President for Research, was restructured to address an increased need for public-private partnering revealed as part of the U’s new strategic research plan, Five Years Forward.

Learn more about the Office of University Economic Development.

For more information read the press release.

Originally published on Business @ the U of M.