The Montana University System used the $15 million dollars it received from the 2015 Legislative session to solve Montana problems with Montana based solutions, add jobs, and grow the economy.
The funding was for the Montana Research & Economic Development Initiative, or MREDI.
In all, 11 grants were awarded to help fund research projects at Montana State University, University of Montana, Montana Tech, MSU-Northern, and Montana State University Billings. Researchers leveraged the state dollars to receive an additional $22.5 million in other grants.
The research projects spanned a range of disciplines, including traumatic brain injury, mining applications, and photonics and optics.
The Optical Technology Center at MSU received the largest grant at $2.5 million. Researchers have numerous projects, including compact imagers to help agricultural producers identify weeds or laser systems to detect skin cancer.
Researchers also formed public-private partnerships to further leverage the state’s investments, like one with Bozeman-based Montana Instruments.
President and founder Luke Mauritsen says one spin-off from this partnership is jobs.
“I’m also proud to say over the last 2 years we’ve hired 20 new people. These are real jobs, here to stay. And we’re up to about 45 right now as the company continues to grow,” he says.
The written report handed out to legislators said:
- 49 public-private partnerships were formed as a result of M-REDI.
- 5 new businesses were formed
- 7 patents were awarded or are in progress
- 10 commercial products are in progress for Montana companies
- 1 new durum wheat variety was developed.
There is no budget request for funding for MREDI in the 2017 Legislative session.