Senate awards U grants for research board

Megan Boldt

The University and researchers received more than $13 million in grants from the state Legislature this week.
The Senate approved its omnibus bonding bill Wednesday, including a $13.2 million grant to the University to create a research board with private companies.
The partnership, called the Northstar Research Coalition, was recommended by the Citizens League in 1998. Members suggested the coalition would help place the University into the top five public research institutions.
“The intent was for collaboration between the University and the private industry,” said Donna Peterson, associate vice president of University Institutional Relations. “Hopes are it will strengthen, create and enhance (University) research capabilities.”
The bill will now move to a conference committee between representatives from both the House and Senate. Both branches will vote on the bill once it is finalized in the committee negotiations.
In addition, the House granted a University researcher $500,000 in appropriations for the design and engineering of a personal rapid transit system (PRT).
J. Edward Anderson, a lecturer and professor at the University, proposed PRT in the 1970s. PRT is a system of overhead rails with cars taking people where they want to go at their leisure.
“It’s been around a long, long time,” said Richard Pfutzenreuter, University chief financial officer. He did not know specific details on the research, since it was not part of the University’s 2000 Capital Request.
Anderson and some legislators view this system as an alternative to light rail.
In the House’s education bill, the University and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities were briefly mentioned, as the bill included a new recommendation to track college buildings and their maintenance on computer databases.

Megan Boldt covers state government and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3212.