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Transforming “What Is” into “What’s Next”

–by Teresa Spaeth

A new report out shows that Minnesota’s economic future may well be rooted in its historic leadership in agricultural production. Agbioscience as a Development Driver: Minnesota Agbioscience Strategy, was done by the
world-renowned Battelle Technology Partnership Practice and includes an assessment of Minnesota’s key capacities and opportunities in agricultural research and a suggested strategy for the state. The study was commissioned by AURI, the Minnnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council and Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council.

“This initiative is about creating a vision and strategy to transform Minnesota’s fundamental strength in agriculture into leading-edge innovation and economic growth for the state,” says AURI Executive Director Teresa Spaeth. “This is an honest and detailed assessment of the critical resources we already have in place in Minnesota—and how we can leverage them into agbioscience leadership both nationally and internationally, resulting in economic growth and new jobs in the state.”

Battelle interviewed more than 100 individuals across Minnesota including university faculty, researchers and research administrators as well as professionals in applied research, technology transfer and economic development. The Battelle study identified four key ag-based bioscience research platforms for Minnesota:

For the identified technology platforms, a more detailed strategic investment plan will be developed, involving:

  • Research and development enhancements required, including specific niches to pursue and types of faculty to be recruited;
  • Technology infrastructure investments; and
  • Specific “connecting” activities to bring industry and research players together.

AURI is now working with the University of Minnesota, MnSCU, the state’s 14 research and promotion councils and other stakeholders to identify the most promising agricultural research needs, and begin aligning the people and places necessary to capitalize on these opportunities.

“By having a strategic and targeted approach to agbioscience development in Minnesota, we can make better use of resources, create collaborative public-private partnerships, attract more research and grant dollars into the state, and accelerate the transfer of research into commercialization,” Spaeth says. “Ultimately, this initiative will lead to new businesses and economic growth for Minnesota—all founded in our state’s proven success in agriculture.”

To read the full report, visit