According to Laura Jenski, Ph.D., vice president for research at USD, this is a significant move in creating a resource to help grow companies in South Dakota and help connect universities with innovation-driven businesses that are in the entrepreneurial stages or expanding.

“The Research Park will not only provide physical infrastructure and access to university expertise, students will receive hands-on opportunities to work with businesses and research firms as interns, researchers and part-time employees,” Jenski noted. “This association will ultimately lead to enhanced economic development opportunities provided by innovation-driven business.”

Located on the grounds of University Center, the University of South Dakota Research Park will share a campus with the Graduate Education and Applied Research (GEAR) Center, which opened in 2009 and is operated by USD in collaboration with the Board of Regents. Land for the 80-acre research park was acquired in 2006 as part of the University Center’s overall expansion.

In addition to the GEAR Center, which is focused on biomedical engineering research (biomaterials and biomedical devices), USD is also working with the South Dakota Technology Business Center and Forward Sioux Falls to plan and launch the park. These organizations will also play a key role in helping attract and support additional park tenants. Tenants are expected to establish relationships with university faculty and students or engage in activities related to research in Regental institutions.

“We are excited that the Board of Regents and University of South Dakota have taken this important step toward establishing a university-related research park in Sioux Falls,” said Rich Naser, director of the South Dakota Technology Business Center. “The creation of the USD Research Park will provide entrepreneurs and local industry with additional resources to develop their businesses as well as increase economic development opportunities for the community.”

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