The Science Initiative of Central Minnesota continues to gain momentum and make a lasting impact in the region by providing workforce solutions to the high growth science-based industry. Fifteen businesses and organizations have rallied around the initiative, providing financial and staffing support. That core group of individuals from these organizations continue to meet on a monthly basis to provide leadership for the project. Here's a look at some initiative's recent results:
· With the participation and support of medical device industry experts, a new Masters of Science in Regulatory Affairs degree has been developed at St. Cloud State University (SCSU). It is the first of its kind on the Midwest and the first program in the nation to focus on medical devices. The first classes began in the fall of 2007. Chuck Swanson joined as program director. The program has attracted a strong advisory board of executives from key companies to provide ongoing guidance and leadership. View the program's brochure. Visit the RAS website.
· Working in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), SICM helped secure a designated Bioscience Zone in Central Minnesota in early 2008 to further attract bioscience development in the region. The zone spans nearly 500 acres in the cities of St. Augusta, Sartell, St. Cloud, Waite Park, St. Joseph and Sauk Rapids.
Attracting & Growing Businesses
· SICM leaders have been working with a variety of businesses interested in expanding in the St. Cloud area. They have helped with site selection, incentive packages and data collection to help the businesses make informed decisions. An announcement could come by the end of 2008.
· SICM formed a Lead Generation Team that meets monthly, explores opportunities and connects with key businesses in Minnesota.
· Granite Equity Partners, a St. Cloud-based investment firm and SICM partner, invested in MicroBioLogics Inc. to strengthen the St. Cloud-based company as a producer of reference stock cultures for quality control microbiology and clinical diagnostic testing. Granite Equity will play a significant role in the future growth and international expansion of MicroBioLogics.
· SICM leaders partnered with the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota and students from St. Cloud State University to provide the comprehensive company data needed to populate an internet-based map. The project made the 14-county Central Minnesota area among the first regions to be included in the map that eventually will showcase bioscience-related resources statewide. The map was revealed at BIO ’08 in California.
Strengthening Regional Assets
· St. Cloud State University plans to construct a new combined science and engineering laboratory and classroom facility. The $42 million facility will be 100,000 square feet and be focused on upper-division courses. About $900,000 in state bonding is expected to help fund the project.
· Promoted the region at the national bioscience conference for the past four years.
· SICM’s efforts to secure a Bioscience Zone were recognized in the Spring 2008 issue of the national magazine, Global Corporate Xpansion.
· SICM has organized quarterly networking events called "SICM After Hours" to provide more opportunities to allow business leaders and educators to connect about science-related issues and increase awareness about the bioscience work happening throughout the region. Attendance continues to grow, drawing about 75-100 leaders. Contact us to attend our next event.
· SICM has organized its second “Alley Chats” with LifeScience Alley. The first event attracted more than 100 leaders from throughout the state.
· SICM was listed in the 2008 Minnesota Bioscience Industry Directory.