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USD and Sanford to Unveil New Graduate Research Program

Four students sitting together with paper and writing utensils in a circle as they collaborate and brainstorm together. USD, in collaboration with Sanford Health, launched the Technology Readiness Acceleration Center (TRAC) to train graduate students in entrepreneurship and technology development.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota, in collaboration with Sanford Health, has launched the Technology Readiness Acceleration Center (TRAC) to train graduate students in entrepreneurship and technology development.

TRAC focuses on commercializing innovations, supporting entrepreneurship and developing research for market readiness. With the help of TRAC students, USD and Sanford researchers will have the tools and resources they need to translate their discoveries from tests in a laboratory to real-world applications.

“TRAC trains student apprentices in technology development and commercialization of novel technologies, which will create a pipeline of entrepreneurs,” said Daniel Engebretson, Ph.D, vice president for research and sponsored programs. “This will truly invigorate South Dakota’s economic and workforce development.”

Graduate students have the opportunity to participate in the program for two years and will be provided competitive stipends. Students will spend their first year learning about intellectual property, entrepreneurship, technology development and laboratory skills development. Students will then choose from a pool of over 100 technologies that are owned by USD or Sanford Health to focus on readying for market application. Their second year will be spent developing the technology, seeking further funding and either creating a startup company or forming partnerships with established industry partners.

“The primary goal of TRAC is to create pathways to building businesses and jobs around research commercialization,” said Engebretson. “The collaboration with industries will greatly benefit USD students, the university itself and Sanford Health.”

Participation in TRAC begins Aug. 19. Graduate students are encouraged to apply by July 13, 2020.

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Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News