Illustration of Discovery District

Research at the University of South Dakota is founded on the philosophy that research and education combine with a powerful synergy, and further, that research and education provide critical economic drivers for the state.

USD has research strengths in:

  • Health and medicine
  • Ecology and sustainability science
  • Advanced materials development
  • Dark matter detection
  • Business analytics.

The University is the lead institution for three Governor’s Research Centers: The Center for Functional Fluorinated Materials, The Center for Genetics & Behavioral Health, and the sustained Center for Ultra-low Background Experiments.

The University’s Missouri River Institute engages faculty and students in a multi-state collaboration for the ecological, economic and human factors impact of land-use changes in the upper Missouri River basin. The multi-institutional Center for Security Printing and anti-Counterfeiting Technologies grew out of one of the earliest Governor’s Research Centers and is now supported through the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice. A new Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship will be established through an award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Grants & Contracts

In Fiscal Year 2017, USD was awarded $28 million in grants and contracts. This includes awards from the National Science Foundation for three Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) sites and for a National Research Traineeship (NRT) program for graduate students. It also includes an award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to broaden undergraduate participation in STEM fields and
an award from the National Institutes of Health promoting undergraduate participation in STEM through the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN).

The National Science Foundation has made awards to promote technology transfer and university/industry connections through a Partnerships for Innovation program. During FY17, USD had 10 NIH R01 awards to individual investigators and two NSF CAREER awards to junior faculty.

USD grants and contracts also include public service awards for the Head Start program and for the South Dakota School for the Deaf. The U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology provide public service awards to operate the South Dakota Small Business Development Center and Manufacturing and Technology Solutions for South Dakota companies.

USD is developing its first research park, called the USD Discovery District, in Sioux Falls. The 80-acre park will adjoin the existing University Center-Sioux Falls, which offers classes from all six public universities. Ground was broken for the USD Discovery District in spring 2017, the first streets and utilities have been installed, and construction will start soon on the first 25,000-square-foot tenant building and a hotel. The USD Discovery District will emphasize biomedical engineering and products in cooperation with the city of Sioux Fall, Forward Sioux Falls, the state of South Dakota and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

USD offers a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at the Graduate Education & Research Center (GEAR,) next door to the USD Discovery District. GEAR also provides technology-transfer incubator space with a certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) laboratory for pharmaceuticals production and packaging. Plans are in the works to expand the GEAR Center for a second time in order to accommodate all the companies wanting approved lab space to conduct FDA trials on medical devices and treatments.