Minnesota has a long history of leadership in the medical device world. In 2013, the state ranked first nationwide in medical patents per capita and second in medical device manufacturing employment, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce recognized that leadership by naming Minnesota’s medical technology sector one of the nation’s 12 Manufacturing Communities, a designation intended to support best practices and economic development strategies through access to federal aid. The University of Minnesota is among the leadership team for a coalition formed around this designation called the Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership. The MMMP includes nonprofits, economic development groups, higher education institutions and state government organizations, all of which were convened by the economic development group Greater MSP.
“The university’s long history of expertise in developing new medical technology makes it a natural fit for this partnership,” said Maura Donovan, executive director of the U’s Office of University Economic Development. “Overall, this effort is a great example of how Minnesota can identify its key industry sectors and leverage them in creative new ways to spur economic development across the state.”
Medical device research at the U continues to garner funding and produce innovative technologies. In fiscal 2014, researchers at the U’s College of Science and Engineering successfully competed for externally sponsored research awards totaling more than $140 million, which includes support for research aligned with engineering needs and opportunities in the med tech sector. That same year, U researchers disclosed more than 60 new med tech-related technologies to the U’s Office for Technology Commercialization. And research groups within the U, like the Medical Devices Center and the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, provide researchers with opportunities to form interdisciplinary collaborations, work with industry leaders and develop cutting-edge medical technology.
The MMMP leadership group plans to hold its first meeting later this year to consider which initiatives and opportunities to submit for federal aid. The group’s strategy will focus on workforce and training, supplier networks, research and innovation, infrastructure and site development, trade and investment, and operational improvement and capital access.