Annual Report

Focused on the Future

Rolf Weberg, Executive Director, NRRI

Staff photo of Rolf Weberg

If this past year has taught us anything, we’ve learned that change and adaptation is the new standard. Despite the continuing challenges posed by the effects of the pandemic, NRRI has continued to adjust and deliver with patience, dedication and outstanding teamwork. But we haven’t done it alone. We have received critical help and support from our Advisory Board, state legislators and agencies, our partners and collaborators, the University of Minnesota and our fellow citizens. Thank you.

Change has continued across our University community as well. Two of our System leaders and supporters have left for new challenges and we welcome new leadership. NRRI now reports through Interim Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Amy Hietapelto, former UMD dean of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics and long-time supporter of NRRI’s mission. The University’s Vice President for Research also has interim leadership under Michael Oakes of the University’s School of Public Health. We are pleased that Michael’s guiding principles – excellence, integrity, responsiveness and impact – are fully embraced by NRRI’s core values. We look forward to furthering our role under their leadership as a System asset within the University’s research enterprise.  

Strategic Initiatives

Last year, as we rolled out our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, we introduced our five research platforms – our key areas of recognized expertise. This year, we are pleased to introduce three strategic initiatives – focal points of our integrated research programs that will deliver real impacts to Minnesota and the region:

  1. Ecosystems and Water Resource Management
  2. Forestry, Functional Biochar and Carbon Materials
  3. Iron and Minerals of the Future

Superimposed upon these is the drive to address the global climate crisis by reducing our carbon footprint in all that we do to maintain our living ecosystems while remaining economically competitive. This focus has brought NRRI new opportunities on the federal level to add our expertise in creating solutions. We will look forward to sharing the results of this work. 

Continuous Improvement

Finally, in the spirit of continuous improvement, NRRI has embraced the challenge of assessing our organization based on diversity, equity and inclusion principles. This will be a long-standing effort to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all employees, students, partners and collaborators and I look forward to working with our team in these efforts.

NRRI continues to be a busy and exciting place. I hope that you enjoy this annual report and invite you to share your questions and comments with us. We are your Natural Resources Research Institute.

Stay healthy and safe. Thank you for your support,

Hand written signature Rolf