University of Minnesota

Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota is a presence throughout the state with five campuses and numerous research and outreach centers. The University is a hub for creativity, research, artistic expression, critical thinking, and debate about the world’s most pressing issues. Ranked among the top public research universities in the world, the University of Minnesota is truly Driven to Discover(sm). *Statistics included below are from fiscal year 2010, and “patents” refers to new U.S. patents filed

Featured Startups and Technologies


Medtronic founder Earl Bakken began working with legendary U of M heart surgeon C. Walton Lillehei in 1957. Bakken created a transistorized, battery-powered pacemaker that allowed the U of M to lead the way in short-term pacing of the heart. Soon, both Medtronic and pacemaker technology started to take off, and the rest is Minnesota history.

Retractable Seat Belts

University professor James J. “Crash” Ryan received a patent for the first automatic retractable safety seat belt in 1963. The seat belt saved more than 226,000 lives from 1975 to 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


When Minnesota’s high-grade ore ran out, the Iron Range economy took a hard hit. In 1955 professor Edward Wilson Davis’ taconite pellet process allowed for the use of lower-grade iron ore and breathed new life into Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Honeycrisp Apples

Developed by professor James Luby and research scientist David Bedford, the Honeycrisp apple was introduced to the public in 1991. The Honeycrisp was declared Minnesota’s state fruit in 2006, and the Association of University Technology Managers named it one of the “25 Innovations That Changed the World“ in its 2006 “Better World” report.

Carbovir Compounds

Created by pharmacy researchers Robert Vince and Mei Hua, carbovir compounds are the basis for a drug named Ziagen that is credited with dramatically improving the quality of life for thousands of AIDS patients around the world. Royalties from Ziagen sales currently fund a wide range of programs across the U of M.

Contact Us

Office for Technology Commercialization
160 University Enterprise Laboratories
1000 Westgate Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55114-8658

Phone: (612) 624-0550