U of M regents visit Institute
Published 5:09 pm Saturday, May 31, 2014
University of Minnesota board of Regents met Friday morning with The Hormel Institute to go over their partnership and discuss the impending expansion.
The Hormel Institute was established as a University department in 1942, and for 72 years the partnership has stood strong.
Dr. Ann Bode, Associate Director for The Hormel Institute, thinks the partnership with the U of M has been very beneficial for the Institute.
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“They provide an institutional entity that gives a certain credibility to everything you do,” Bode said.
Since the Institute is a regular University department, researchers are allowed access to resources that help their research, such as the library, academic journals, radioisotope licenses, environmental safety, and grant funding which goes through the University office.
“It’s a convenience but it’s also a necessity, and it’s a privilege,” Bode said.
Richard Beeson, spokesperson for the Board of Regents, agrees that there is a good relationship between the two.
“It’s a great partnership. It’s an example to all of our corporations in the state, as an example of how to work with a large land grant University that’s focusing on research,” Beeson said.
Beeson said they are also glad to be a lead partner with the Mayo Clinic, and he likes that there is research being done outside of the Twin Cities. He said with different cultures and a different dynamic, more perspectives are able to add to the research.
This visit is the first time the Board of Regents has ever come to the Hormel Institute as a whole group. They traveled to three different sites during this specific trip, Hormel being the last stop. One site they went was a dairy farm where they watched the birth of a calf.
“It’s just really helpful being on site and talking with the folks and doing the work, as opposed to just reading about these in staff memos,” Beeson said.
The $28.5-million expansion is expected to add 20 state-of-the-art laboratories and better space for the Institute’s International Center of Research Technology. Institute leaders expect to add about 120 jobs over the next few years, growing the Institute to a total of about 250 employees. Work is expected to start around June 23. City of Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm is very excited for the new expansion.
“It’s a lot more than just an expansion,” Stiehm said.
He foresees the expansion bringing in many more jobs, including construction jobs, doubling the research jobs, and adding more maintenance and general staff.
“It will be years before it’s done, and it will be steady employment,” Stiehm said.
Stiehm said they are also planning on building more housing in the east part of town, which should help with any population increase, but will also help create more jobs.
“It’s an amazing time for the city,” Stiehm said.
Jason Schoonover contributed to this story.