Made in Minnesota: Celebrating University Innovators

Fiber optics

Innovation and discovery have always been a proud part of the university’s growing and rich entrepreneurial landscape. During Made in Minnesota: Celebrating University Innovators, which took place Dec. 11 at Northrop, 285 inventors received much-deserved recognition for their efforts to, as President Kaler put it, “confirm that higher education is a profoundly public good.”

Representing 14 colleges across the university system, the honorees earned a total of 141 patents and 316 licenses during fiscal years 2012-2014. The evening included remarks from U of M President Eric Kaler, VP for Research Brian Herman and a keynote from nationally recognized journalist and urbanist Greg Lindsay.

2014 also marked the inaugural presentation of the Innovation Awards—winners were nominated by their peers in three categories for their contributions at various stages in their careers and in the commercialization cycle.

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Map: Research around the world

The U of M is dedicated to broadening our understanding of the world as well as discovering solutions to its greatest challenges. The U is the ninth most active public research university in the United States, with $849 million in annual research expenditures, and our renowned researchers are not only conducting their work in the U.S. but across the globe as well. The map below shows just how much of the world they covered in 2013—84 nations (not including the U.S.) on all seven continents.

UMN Research Locations 2013

[Click the map to enlarge]

Source: International Travel for Research Purpose as registered with the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, January – December 2013.

Startups at a glance

The University of Minnesota has been making great strides in startups since 2006—launching 15 companies in the last fiscal year alone. Here’s a quick look at other startup data including investment capital raised, industry areas and locations.

UMN Startup Infographic: Companies Launched, Capital raised, Industry areas, Company Locations[Click graphic to enlarge]

Startup ex machina

Photos by Andria Waclawski

Video: Why university research?

University research drives scientific and technological advances that address critical global challenges and improve the health and well-being of society. Listen to three University of Minnesota researchers tell us what inspires them to do research and how their work is making a difference on our campuses and around the world.

 

Help us spread the word!

1. Share this video via your social and professional networks.

2. Tell us your research story. Join the conversation on Twitter with #whyuniversityresearch.

Example Tweets

 

Poll: Why do research?

University research cuts across all disciplines and areas of scholarship and has broad impact on our communities and our world. We’d like to hear what you think is the greatest benefit of university research. (Please note: all responses are anonymous.)

Biotechnology Resource Center scales up innovations

BTI

Biotechnology probes the properties of the microscopic, sometimes to great reward. But the most exciting discoveries can’t impact society unless they hold up at a commercial scale. The Biotechnology Resource Center in the BioTechnology Institute houses the equipment and expertise needed for companies to put discoveries to the test in larger batches.

BRC offers state-of-the-art lab space and equipment to biotechnology companies of all kinds, from small startups to global corporations, working on biotech endeavors that run the gamut. The lab’s competencies lie in process scale-up and fermentation for biological materials, and their rates make biotechnology equipment accessible to innovators of all kinds.

“We can work with industry to provide them with services to get an idea off the ground, or to do work they wouldn’t want to do or couldn’t do at their main lab,” says Tim Tripp, director of BRC. Continue reading

Meet the U of M Meat Lab

Historic photos lining the hall at the Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science show scientists wearing suits and ties when handling carcasses, using wooden tables in their preparations and conducting their work out of barns and other bygone facilities.

History

Fortunately, the science of meat and related food safety has seen huge advancements since the turn of the 20th century, and the University of Minnesota has played a central role in moving “farm-to-fork” science forward. In fact, the U of M’s Meat Lab was the first in North America: Established in 1901, the lab is now a modern processing facility for both red meat and poultry.

Today, the lab is run by the “meat geek” (faculty coordinator and scientist Ryan Cox), the “meat head” (lab supervisor Pete Nelson), and assistant supervisor Tristan McNamara. The rest of the staff consists of undergraduate students, who enjoy the opportunity to receive on-the-job training while attending school.

Students participate in courses ranging from food processing and safety to livestock marketing and muscle biology. The lab also offers several workshops to the public through University of Minnesota Extension, including the popular Meat Science 101, HACCP Sanitation and Auditing, Deer Processing, and Cattle Harvest Day.

The lab’s training and research exemplifies a key component of the university’s MnDRIVE (Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy) initiative. MnDRIVE will support enhancements to the food supply chain that will increase Minnesota’s industry competitiveness, protect public health and ensure food products continue to be safe, secure and abundant.

Waste not…

“Modern meat science is all about making the animal more efficient and meeting the needs of today’s consumer,” says Cox. “Through our program, students, researchers and businesses are learning the best ways to improve meat quality, increase efficiency and reduce waste.”

And they practice what they preach. Just as a careful butcher is mindful to get the most out of each cut, Cox, Nelson and McNamara take great pride in utilizing every square foot of their modest space. With nearly all of their equipment on wheels, what was a work area this morning will become a classroom in the evening, storage tomorrow, or even a judging room for the Processed Meats Championship during the Minnesota State Fair.

Continuing in that vein of reducing waste, all the meat used for teaching anatomy and processing techniques eventually makes its way to one particular room with a very special purpose. On Wednesdays from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., room 26 is a store offering a variety of meat products and snacks available for purchase.

The Meat Lab hopes to combine forces with the dairy salesroom, located one floor above them, to create a larger shop with easier access for customers to purchase University of Minnesota meats, cheeses and ice cream.

Learn more about available products on the U of M meat store and dairy salesroom websites.

Update: We received several comments about how to find the red Angus beef poster featured above. We found it with a little help from the folks at the Meat Lab! If you’re interested in getting a copy, you can contact the American Angus Association to find out more.

Photos by Andria Waclawski

Originally published on Business @ the U of M.

IRB Expedited & Exempt Review Metrics and Submission Tips

The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) released data collected from its group of 196 accredited organizations in June 2010. The metrics were released to help research organizations and researchers identify and support high-performing practices for human research protection programs (HRPP). The data ranges from types of research and conformance with regulations and guidance to financial and personnel resources and IRB review times. The University of Minnesota’s HRPP took these metrics, compared them to their own, and has since implemented some initiatives to improve its service.

The University placed in the top tier of research institutions in protocols overseen, as 2,053 protocols were approved by its IRB office in 2009 and the office maintains 5,076 active protocols. This volume placed the University above the mean number of protocols overseen (851), and well above the median number (306).

The data from the survey showed that the University has less staff with 20 full-time employees (FTE) than comparable accredited organizations, which average 30 FTE. This correlates to 70 more protocols processed per FTE at the University.

One of the highlights of the survey was data on review time for accredited organizations. The institution has always strived to turn around submissions as efficiently as possible, but determining what is a reasonable amount of time has not previously been defined.

Further Comparative Analysis

Regarding exempt reviews, the University was on par with accredited organization averages in 2009, and has made progress reducing the number of days required for review through the first quarter of 2010.

Exempt metrics

The department has applied some of the lessons used in reducing review time in exempts towards expedited review, and has reduced the review time nearly in line with averages for accredited organizations. To exceed those averages staff have identified common issues that are simple to fix, yet may cause delays in processing research submissions unless they are addressed.

Expedited Metrics

IRB Submission Tips

For Medical Record Chart Review:

  • When a link to protected health information (e.g., the patient names or medical record numbers) is maintained separately from the data, it should be noted that the IRB still considers a link to exist
  • The Medical Record Chart Review application allows the researchers to select the level of review appropriate for the research. If the Principal Investigator thinks their research will qualify for expedited review, initially selecting the most accurate category of review will assist in a more expedient approval (e.g., “Research including a retrospective and prospective chart review” is considered expedited).

For All Projects:

  • Electronic applications need to be sent to irb@umn.edu using an official University of Minnesota email account; email providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! cannot be accepted
  • Remember to cc your advisor and any co-Investigators associated with the research application using their official University of Minnesota email account
  • Submit any surveys, questionnaires, recruitment materials, supporting documents, and consent forms with the application
  • Indicate completion of Human Research Subjects’ Protection training in the appropriate portion of the application.

Originally published on Research @ the U of M.