Regents approve purchase of Shriners Hospital property to establish Institute for Child and Adolescent Brain Health

Published 6:17 am Tuesday, October 15, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL — The University of Minnesota Board of Regents on Friday approved the purchase of the Shriners Hospital property in Minneapolis. Should the University successfully close on the purchase of the 10.2-acre property at 2025 East River Parkway, the campus will become a first-of-its-kind Institute for Child and Adolescent Brain Health.

Friday’s vote followed a September presentation to the Board’s Finance and Operations Committee, during which Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs, and Dr. Jean Quam, dean of the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), outlined a vision to create an interdisciplinary institute that will bring together globally recognized experts from many different areas of the University. Work at the Institute – clinical research, clinical care for children and families, and policy/outreach – will focus on brain development at two critical developmental stages, the first 1,000 days of life and adolescence, resulting in better diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders in children and adolescents.

Philanthropic donations are expected to fund the property purchase and renovations to the existing facilities, which include a hospital, clinic and support facilities, hotel rooms for overnight stays, and an attached parking ramp.

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Among its priorities for the 2019-20 academic year, the Board is exploring strategies to grow the University’s impact as a top-10 research institution, while further incentivizing and promoting research that addresses challenges and opportunities facing Minnesota. Chris Cramer, vice president for research, detailed the University’s work in this area and proposed possible directions to further this work in a presentation to the Board Friday, which included research topics of particular importance to the state of Minnesota and the special advantage that research provides in the education of the University’s students.

Cramer highlighted the need to continue investing in the University’s research enterprise, most notably seeding basic research, including in areas that can then attract externally sponsored funding; supporting a diverse research portfolio, maintaining and developing cutting-edge infrastructure, promoting interdisciplinary work done in centers or institutes within the University, and continued partnership with the State of Minnesota.

Cramer celebrated Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy, or MnDRIVE, in his remarks. The collaboration between the University and the state to align research strength with Minnesota’s top and emerging industries, as well as Minnesota’s challenges, has been in place for more than five years. In its first five years, more than 400 projects have directly engaged more than 35,000 people, and MnDRIVE supported researchers have attracted $360 million in external funding and disclosed 300-plus inventions.