Center of Excellence for Minot approved
Minot State University and its partners SRT Communications, InfoTech-Minot Technology Center, and Minot Area Development Corporation (MADC) have been approved for $2.1 million in state funding for their Center of Excellence project. The Great Plains Knowledge and Data Center will promote the development and advancement of knowledge-based business in the region. Success at today's meeting with the legislative appropriations committee was the final hurdle for the project.
"We're just extremely pleased to work collaboratively with these major entities in Minot to promote economic development in the region," said President David Fuller. "We worked hard to make a successful proposal and will now work together to actually bring the project to fruition."
The $2.1 million will support a two and one-half year project, scaled back from the original request of $3.5 million for five years. The Centers of Excellence Commission made the revised recommendation for funding Sept. 28. At that time Fuller expressed confidence in the ability to carry off a very powerful, strong project with less funding. The project will support two key facilities - a production data facility, which will be hosted by SRT and a research and development (R&D) facility hosted by MSU.
Private sector partners SRT and Info-Tech are providing $4.2 million as an in-kind match for the state funding. Along with providing physical infrastructure, SRT will provide broadband access and professional expertise. Info-Tech will provide client projects, technological expertise, internship and employment opportunities, and production data center activities.
"This project certainly meets the goals of the Centers of Excellence to combine education and economic development to create new business opportunities in our state," said the president. "I see this project as being very important in demonstrating how Minot State University faculty and students can collaborate and contribute in a meaningful way to the economic development of our region."
Key MSU personnel involved in conceptualizing the center and preparing the proposal include Selmer Moen and Steve Hayton, faculty members in computer science, and Deanna Klein, faculty member in business information technology. Linda Cresap, dean of the Graduate School and Research and Sponsored Programs, will oversee the grant.
"For us, one of the other exciting aspects of the Great Plains Knowledge and Data Center is that our students will have the opportunity for applied research and development using cutting-edge technology. After being able to obtain the knowledge gained through hands-on research and internships, they will be poised to assume high-demand technology careers," Fuller said. "This is a great step in achieving Vision 2013 priorities for engaged student learning and the merger of theory and practice."
In 2002, Gov. John Hoeven initiated the Centers of Excellence concept and worked with legislators to fund the earliest projects in the 2003 session. A Center of Excellence for Economic Development is a hub of research and development on one of the campuses of the North Dakota University System around which related businesses expand and dynamic new businesses cluster, creating jobs and opportunities for North Dakota citizens.