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Rep. Thissen Introduces MN Research and Development Authority

Rep. Paul Thissen introduced legislation today (HF2134) to create a Minnesota Research and Development Authority and fund it with a $500 million investment by the State of Minnesota.

"There is no reason Minnesota should not be a center of innovation and investment on par with the very best in the world. But to get there we need a big vision that put the state on the map and a robust private-public partnership to put exciting ideas into the marketplace," said Rep. Thissen. "Over $650 million of the current budget surplus is one-time money - it cannot be prudently used for ongoing spending or tax cuts. Why wouldn't we put a good portion of that money to work on something that could fundamentally change Minnesota's jobs and entrepreneurship landscape long-term?"

The Research and Development Authority is a multi-agency board that will coordinate with the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State (formerly MNSCU) great Minnesota research institutions like the Mayo Clinic and the Hormel Institute, private technology-oriented companies, and venture investors to coordinate a strategic research and development enhancement and investment program to maximize jobs and economic growth in Minnesota. Among other things, it will have broad authority to accelerate commercialization of Minnesota research and development, to provide seed money to organizations that assist innovation entrepreneurship, to invest in new infrastructure for research, development and innovation activities across the state, and to vastly expand internship opportunities for college and high school students across Minnesota in science, technology, engineering, math, and manufacturing careers.

The Research and Development Authority is also charged with partnering with the private sector to create at least three entrepreneurship incubator laboratories modeled on the successful J-Labs in southern California, including two such labs located outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The entrepreneurship incubator labs will provide new entrepreneurs with physical space, lab and other scientific equipment, capital, coaching, common services, and a spot for networking.

 "We met with and listened to entrepreneurs working in Minnesota right now on the ground trying to bring innovative - sometimes transformative - ideas to market,” said Rep. Thissen. “Just last week at the Robotics Alley conference we heard from folks calling for exactly this type of significant partnership commitment from the State of Minnesota. We should not pass up the opportunity."

 The bill was referred to the Committee on Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance.