North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota embrace a competitiveness that ignites pride and loyalty. We also share bonds based on our core research and educational activities. While both research institutions contribute by commercializing intellectual property, we recognize that preparing our students to succeed is the most important work we do. The array of discovery generated in our research universities feeds directly and impactfully into our teaching and training. We prepare highly-educated, motivated and effective citizens of our state who will form tomorrow’s productive workforce.

New opportunity is on the horizon for NDSU and UND research. The state is exploring an investment in research that could be a game changer. It could lead to more ideas patented and companies formed, and it also involves investment in our research infrastructure to provide for a more successful future.

Our institutions are in the sweet spot for research, being large enough to do cutting-edge work with real-world applications yet small enough to let students train directly with talented professors and graduate student mentors. That spot and our commitment to collaboration set us apart nationally.

Our research students often go on to fuel new innovations. Mike Chambers and John Ballantyne grew Aldevron from a single lab at NDSU to a state-of-the-art biotech firm with global reach. It took 20 years to realize that return on investment, but it’s produced a rapidly growing company generating hundreds of good jobs in North Dakota.

Research institutions also collaborate with private industries to benefit the public. Along with research partners from Harris Corporation and the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, UND recently achieved a major industry milestone with the first-ever BVLOS test flights over a specially developed UAS network, opening the skies for broad commercial use of drones to fly farther and safer. Commercialization such as these examples enhances the attractiveness of North Dakota as the leading hub for innovation and commerce.

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Each university has engaged students in research and fueled innovation and commerce in the state. We’ve had abundant successes in areas of established strength—agriculture, aerospace, UAS, energy, engineering and medicine—but the best examples come when we align our talents. For instance, UND command and control research powers the drones that NDSU employs in its precision agriculture research.

Families have long entrusted their loved ones to us, and the citizens of North Dakota have entrusted their investments in us. We are at a critical time for our state. We are fortunate for the strengths of our two research universities to collectively pull in the direction of our future. Our partnership is strong and dedicated to stewardship and the trust provided to us by the entire state. While we occupy two campuses, the boundaries of our institutions extend across our state. Together we’re playing the long game of research, teaching and commercialization to build on the foundation for long term success of North Dakota.