Sen. Tim Mathern letter: Sen. Dorgan is the engine behind research success
It was great to read the recent story and editorial in The Forum about North Dakota State University's growing role as a nationally recognized research university. The growing number of federal research contracts finding their way to our state is...
It was great to read the recent story and editorial in The Forum about North Dakota State University's growing role as a nationally recognized research university. The growing number of federal research contracts finding their way to our state is a remarkable development.
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., is the engine behind this success.
It seems each time I come to an open house function of a new project at NDSU, I find Dorgan's fingerprints on the project. So I did some further checking. I came to the conclusion he has done more than anyone to make this growth happen, not only at NDSU, but at other North Dakota colleges and universities as well.
What made the difference is the senator's work on the Senate Appropriations Committee. His ability to direct federal research and training funds to North Dakota's universities and colleges gives us the edge.
After joining the Appropriations Committee, Dorgan said that he would launch an initiative to create a Red River Research Corridor at North Dakota colleges and universities. He has worked to link federal research needs with world-class researchers and research facilities at North Dakota's institutions of higher learning.
NDSU has been one of the prime beneficiaries of this initiative - Sen. Dorgan has obtained more than $138 million in federal research and training funding for NDSU alone since FY 2002.
NDSU is now a major player in high technology research and development on a wide range of fronts. Just a sampling: Polymers and coating projects - Dorgan secured more than $30 million since fiscal year 2002; Spin electronics - Dorgan obtained more than $3 million since FY 2002; Miniaturized wireless systems - Dorgan brought more than $50 million to NDSU since FY 2002 for this project.
In all, Dorgan's work on the Senate Appropriations Committee directed more than $225 million statewide to North Dakota for federal research and training work. This puts North Dakota on the cutting edge of new technology that has great potential for commercialization, new manufacturing and new high paying jobs.
Essentially Sen. Dorgan brought Alien Technology to NDSU. The company decided to build a new manufacturing plant in Fargo to be near the research and development capabilities Sen. Dorgan developed with federal funds. This is an example of the Red River Research Corridor in action.
I don't take anything away from President Joseph Chapman and NDSU. They are doing great work. As we celebrate that, it is important, however, that we not overlook the engine that pulls this train.
Fortunately, North Dakota has Dorgan working to make great things happen at NDSU and in our state.
Mathern, D-Fargo, has served District 11 in the N.D. Senate since 1986. He is a member of the Appropriations Committee.