A new Medical Devices Center at the University of Minnesota is closer to becoming reality after the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) on Wednesday announced it is awarding $1.08 million to build a new facility.

The money will be used to convert part of a campus parking space into a larger facility for the center. The center has outgrown its current East Bank space.

DEED’s award, under the its Innovative Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program, covers about half the cost of the new facility. The University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering will contribute the remaining funds for the $2.2 million project, according to DEED.

"The medical devices sector is a vital industry in Minnesota, employing more than 29,000 people, the highest number per capita in the United States," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "The Medical Devices Center is critical to the state's infrastructure, serving as an integral partner to industry and an incubator for innovative new devices."      

The Medical Devices Center, which includes laboratories, equipment, support facilities, training programs and expert personnel, is a world-renowned model for turning research and development ideas into marketable products. With the help of the center, many products are eventually licensed to existing Minnesota companies or produced by medical device start-ups.

"The Medical Devices Center is a great example of how a partnership among the University of Minnesota, state of Minnesota and industry can strengthen the state's economy," said Steven L. Crouch, dean of the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering. "With more than 100 invention disclosures in just the last four years, our Medical Devices Center has a proven track record of success that we hope to expand even further with additional space."

For more details about DEED, go to www.PositivelyMinnesota.com. Follow DEED on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PositivelyMN.