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University of Minnesota receives grant from DEED for expansion of Medical Devices Center

Construction expected to begin this fall on Minneapolis Campus

July 25, 2012

The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering announced today that it has been awarded $1.08 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to convert 8,000 square feet of unfinished space into an expanded facility for the Medical Devices Center on the Minneapolis campus. Construction on the new Medical Devices Center is expected to begin this fall.

The funding, awarded under the agency’s Innovative Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program, will be used to convert part of the Mayo Parking Garage into a new, larger facility for the Medical Devices Center, which has outgrown its current 5,000-square-foot space in the Shepherd Labs building on the University’s East Bank. The new facility will be conveniently located in the heart of the University’s medical facilities while remaining close to the University’s engineering buildings.

The University’s College of Science and Engineering will contribute the remaining funds for the $2.2 million project using money from facilities and administrative charges on external research grants. In-kind donations from medical devices companies are expected to fund needed equipment. To date, the Medical Devices Center has received more than $1 million in equipment donations for its current facilities.

“The medical devices sector is a vital industry in Minnesota, employing more than 29,000 people, the highest number per capita in the U.S.” said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. “The Medical Devices Center is critical to the state’s infrastructure, serving as an integral partner to industry and an incubator for innovative new devices.”     

Established in 2008, the Medical Devices Center includes laboratories, equipment, support facilities, training programs and expert personnel. The center is a world-renowned model for turning research and development ideas into marketable products. Over the last four years, the center’s research fellows have filed 109 invention disclosures to the University of Minnesota Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), of which 52 were filed just this year. Based on these invention disclosures, the University has filed 37 patent applications and four additional applications are currently under preparation. 

“The Medical Devices Center is a great example of how a partnership among the University of Minnesota, State of Minnesota and industry can strengthen the state’s economy,” said Steven L. Crouch, dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. “With more than 100 invention disclosures in just the last four years, our Medical Devices Center has a proven track record of success that we hope to expand even further with additional space.”

University administrators estimate that a new, larger Medical Devices Center could contribute to the creation of anywhere from 80 to several hundred jobs in Minnesota annually from new start-up companies and new devices that create jobs at existing medical device companies.

In addition to driving medical device innovation, the Medical Devices Center trains the next generation workforce often cited as the key to maintaining Minnesota’s competitive edge in the medical device industry. The center’s Innovation Fellows program draws talent from around the world to train future innovation leaders in Minnesota. The Medical Devices Center also provides leading-edge training of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students per year to meet the need for engineers within the state’s critical medtech sector. The center also hosts the annual Design of Medical Devices Conference, the world’s largest medical devices conference bringing together leaders in academia, industry and government to share perspectives and innovation in medical device design.

The Innovative Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program provides funding for up to 50 percent of the cost of public projects that create or retain jobs through the growth of innovative businesses and organizations. Projects that target manufacturing, technology, warehousing and distribution, research and development, business incubation, agricultural processing, or industrial, office or research park development are eligible for funding under the program.

The University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center is part of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, an interdisciplinary research organization strengthening efforts between the disciplines of engineering and medicine that seeks to provide solutions and collaborative opportunities to the regional medical device industry.

The Medical Devices Center is a world-renowned model for turning research and development ideas into marketable products.

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