NDUS partners with a regional innovation alliance

NDUS joined with 5 other states that will help provide more opportunities for students

North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota are joining an alliance for innovation and technology. They are joining in with 11 other universities that are all from 5 states. These 5 states are joining forces as they do not receive as much federal investment in innovation and technology. This partnership will allow for resources to be shared throughout this system.  

The states that are involved in this innovation alliance are North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. There are 13 universities within these states that are a part of the partnership. These are states that do not receive as much federal funding as other states in the US, for innovation and technology. The funding is low in these states because of the population in the state. “We don’t have as many people and we don’t have as many universities,” said Colleen Fitzgerald, Vice President for Research and Creative activity at NDSU. 

By uniting across the country, these universities can use their individual strengths to benefit the region for innovation. This also allows this system to receive larger grants to help research across the region. “These opportunities come about because we are a Carnegie R1 university,” said Fitzgerald. This system will also allow for these states to advocate for more funding for these Universities.

This system has already received success as they received a 14 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. This grant will be used over the next 5 years and will establish a multi-institutiaonal Great Plains Innovation Corp Hub.  According to NDSU this will “provide immersive, entrepreneurial training for scientists and engineers with the goal of moving ideas to commercialization.”

The North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott “really saw this opportunity for how we can ban together and by being unified and leveraging our strengths which are smaller as individual states or universities,” said Fitzgerald. Mark Hagerott was an integral part of seeing that the alliance was developed. 

This alliance will bring more innovation to North Dakota and the region. “We are not just having innovation in California, in the Silicon Valley, but what we are seeing is we really have North Dakota being that poster child for expanding that geography of innovation into our state and our region,” said Fitzgerald. This alliance will bring more innovation opportunities to North Dakota that will bring development and talent to the state. 

This will also benefit the students at NDSU and give more opportunities to students. By creating these opportunities, it will “enrich the student experience and we can nurture those young innovators and create the startups and the big companies of tomorrow,” said Fitzgerald. This will also draw more prospective students to the university. 

This will allow for labs with cutting edge research and these resources will help the students experience and the graduation rates at NDSU. It will also give educators better “opportunities for us to nurture our young innovators,” said Fitzgerald. 

“It will develop more businesses, it will create more products, more ideas, that will in return attract more talent to our state, it will attract students to our universities, it will attract more businesses to our state and it will create more wealth in the state by doing all those things,” said Fitzgerald. 

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