U plans to be in top three for research

Bruininks stressed the need for different research programs to work together.

Matt Graham

The Board of Regents voted unanimously to work to become one of the top three research universities in the world within the next 10 years.

The vote came during the board’s monthly meeting Feb. 11.

“I believe the plan sets very ambitious goals,” University President Bob Bruininks said. “I think we need to be in a leadership position.”

He stressed the need for different research programs to work together.

The semiannual Student Representatives’ Report was also delivered at the meeting.

Student representative Andrew Sorsoleil said the University needs to look to students more during the strategic-positioning process and when eliminating major programs.

Sorsoleil compared the University to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which requires student consultation before all such decisions are made.

“Look to the students for input, knowledge and crazy ideas, which sometimes work,” Sorsoleil said.

He also challenged the board to “find new and innovative ways of funding.”

Bruininks addressed the University of Minnesota’s efforts to secure funding from the state.

He said the University of Minnesota is having “moderate success” this year at the Capitol.

Bruininks said the final figure for the bonding bill will likely be close to the Senate’s proposal of $115 million.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is proposing $104 million, and the House is proposing $89 million for the bill.

The University of Minnesota also received $5 million from Microsoft. The money was awarded after a lawsuit brought by the state.

This is the second payout in a nationwide series of class-action antitrust lawsuits brought against the software corporation.

Rick Hagstrom, a partner in the Minneapolis office of Zelle, Hoffman, Voelbel, Mason & Gate, the firm that filed the lawsuit, stressed the state’s desire to invest the award money in education.

“What better way to provide long-term value than through education?” he said.

The money is planned for the Institute of Technology’s new Consortium for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

Steven Crouch, the Institute of Technology dean, said the University of Minnesota will support the program within five years.

“The consortium will allow the University (of Minnesota) to springboard itself to the forefront of an exciting new field,” Crouch said.