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Bob Bruininks speaks to the Rotary Club in Rochester, Minn.

U president Robert Bruininks speaks to the Rochester Rotary Club on Nov. 16, shortly after announcing signifcant enhancements to the University of Minnesota Rochester.

U announces enhancements in Rochester

UMR designated official campus; chancellor to be named

Nov. 16, 2006

The University of Minnesota's presence in Rochester received a further boost Thursday (Nov. 16) when President Robert Bruininks announced that the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) is being designated as an official campus of the University system, joining the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris and Crookston campuses. Bruininks made the announcement when speaking to the Rochester Higher Education Development Committee (RHEDC).

In addition, Bruininks outlined other significant enhancements to UMR, including new and expanded academic programs and research partnerships, plans for new Rochester faculty and a new corporate relations center dedicated to Rochester and southeastern Minnesota.

The University of Minnesota/Mayo Partnership

Another way that the U's presence is felt in Rochester is through an innovative partnership designed to make Minnesota a world leader in medical biotechnology.

The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics is a collaborative venture between the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Foundation and the state. The partnership's goal is to position Minnesota as a leader in biotechnology and medical genomics applications that will result in important new medical discoveries, and support the development of new businesses and jobs in the biosciences industry in the state.

The Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics has already awarded $15 million in state-funded research support--appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2004--to nine new research teams and infrastructure support for five teams of successful applicants.

The nine research winners will share roughly $9 million for research on pancreatic cancer, tuberculosis and brain tumors, as well as cardiovascular, neuromuscular and autoimmune diseases. Other projects will focus on transplant rejection, drug addiction and cancer development. The remaining $6 million will support equipment, software and other infrastructure needs to enhance molecular research, genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics.

Of the $15 million appropriated to the partnership by the 2006 legislature, $6 million will be made available for new faculty recruits to the two institutions--the U and Mayo. The remainder of the funds will be used for additional research and infrastructure proposals.

"We see the University of Minnesota Rochester as an integral part of our ambitious aspirations and the drive to discover that make the University of Minnesota unique," Bruininks said. "UMR has great potential to benefit not only southeast Minnesota, but also the state--particularly its health care infrastructure and resources."

As an official campus of the University, UMR will have more control over resources and programs under a new clarification of roles and responsibility from the U's central administration. Bruininks will also ask the Board of Regents in December to create a new position of chancellor of UMR.

Bruininks also announced the following enhancements for the UMR campus:

Previously, the U announced 10 new academic programs to be created in the next year at UMR, including two doctoral programs and three masters programs, one of which is a Master of Health Care Administration (MHA) program for working professionals.

"These enhancements represent a major step forward in achieving the vision set out by this community, the University and state policymakers," Bruininks said. "We're proud to be leading the expansion of higher education in the Rochester area sought by the community and its elected officials."

Added Bruininks: "I don't know of a community in the entire country that has worked as tirelessly as this one to grow higher education."

--From University News Service