North Dakota University System joins regional technology and innovation alliance – Grand Forks Herald

BISMARCK — The North Dakota University System has announced a partnership titled the “mountains and plains university innovation alliance,” consisting of 11 universities from five states, in order to boost the region’s ability to support and attract the expansion of high tech innovation and industry.

The partnership, which includes UND and North Dakota State, includes universities from North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott, who oversees the state’s 11 institutions of higher learning, praised the partnership as a means to collectively boost the region’s economic vitality.

“This is a paradigm shift for research and especially innovation related to digital technology,” Hagerott said in a press release. “It will help diversify the region and economy by achieving scale in a way that the individual states might not achieve acting alone.”

UND President Andrew Armacost said the combined research abilities of the 11 partner institutions will positively serve both the region and nation.

“The spirit of research, innovation and drive that exists among the faculty and staff in this five-state alliance is simply extraordinary,” said Armacost. “There’s no better group to address the advanced technology opportunities in our rural states than the incredible universities in this region. This collaboration will advance our nation’s interests in profound ways.”

David Cook, president of NDSU, praised his institution’s commitment to expanding scholarship in technological fields.

“We are proud to be partners in creating the technological solutions that our country needs now and into the future,” Cook said. “Our state has already benefited from the relationships of this alliance through the new NDSU-led National Science Foundation Great Plains I-Corps Hub, which will train entrepreneurs to take research ideas to market. I commend Colleen Fitzgerald, NDSU vice president for research and creative activity, for her work in developing both the alliance and the Hub.”

One of the partnership’s stated objectives is to boost technological education and innovation in traditionally underserved rural communities. Among these underserved communities, according to the aforementioned press release, are tribal colleges.

The member universities of this alliance have already conducted research in fields including autonomous systems, advanced materials science, quantum computing, forest and rangeland management, cybersecurity and predictive and precision agriculture.