U research programs to expand

Tess Langfus

The Board of Regents approved plans Thursday to continue with the development of research, education and outreach programs on the University’s adjoining properties in the communities of Rosemount and Empire.
The proposed plan calls for the University’s agriculture, health and environmental sciences departments to work as an interdisciplinary alliance in research and education.
In addition, the plan commits the University to outreach programs that will provide public recreational activities. The plan also supplies the U with a facility where the collective departmental research can be publicly addressed.
The 7,500-acre property will be named the University of Minnesota Research and Education Park and is located southeast of St. Paul.
Tom Fisher, dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, said the plan is to use the property as a “living laboratory, so that everything we do there becomes a research and teaching opportunity.”
Fisher said an interpretive center would allow public discussions and interpretations on the University’s research.
“We do work that has national and international implications all the time,” he said, “but, particularly in these areas of agriculture, health and environment, sometimes we do this work apart from the political and ethical interpretations of it.”
Rather than compete with the rest of the University for capital funding, Fisher suggested seeking financial support from the federal government, corporations and the public.
He added that for long-term financing, he hopes to acquire partnerships with state agencies.
Regent Patricia Spence said she is pleased with the property’s development.
“It enhances our land-grant mission,” Spence said. “Because that means we’re really going to serve our population through what the University is doing.”
The regents are expected to approve the plan in February.