New Year’s greetings to our NRRI friends and partners:
I hope that this note finds each of you safe and healthy. 2020 had its share of challenges for all of us. I am forever thankful for the dedication of our NRRI personnel to not only continue to contribute and deliver on a high level, but to also commit to protecting each other’s health and that of our colleagues and partners. Despite the challenges, the NRRI team provided essential support to our iron industry as well as our state & federal agencies, broke new ground in forest biomass product research and collaborated across the region to help evaluate new opportunities for Minnesota.
During the migration to our “new normal,” we also took the opportunity to refresh our strategic focus. While our charter and mission remain unchanged, we adopted a new vision to “Discover the Economy of the Future.” Minnesota has a long history of natural resource-based economies. Over the years, our resources and markets have changed. To compete on the world stage, Minnesota needs to both support incumbent industries and aggressively pursue unique, value-add opportunities that offer greater return on investment and reinvestment in the state and its environment. The economy of the future is a forward-looking mindset that requires an inclusive, state-wide conversation to create a sustainable and resilient economy that values our resources, our environment and our communities.
NRRI now offers five strategic research platforms that reflect our expertise and capabilities to attract and engage innovation, collaborators and investment in Minnesota. As part of the University of Minnesota – the state’s premiere research University – NRRI partners across the System and our global network of stakeholders to help develop and accelerate unique solutions into practice. We continue to work hard to develop and maintain productive partnerships consistent with our mission-driven, project focused strategy.
As we look forward into 2021, I cannot help but be optimistic. While change is the new norm, Minnesota has lots of opportunity to evolve its economy within those changes. NRRI has invested in change – new equipment, training, people and capabilities that enhance our ability to partner quickly and effectively. We have streamlined our systems to encourage our researchers to do what they do best – applied research. I am excited to see how NRRI and the University can partner with our state and region to help create Minnesota’s economy of the future.
Stay well. Rolf T. Weberg