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NDSU, Montana State Turn Friendly Bet into Potential Collaborations
North Dakota Ag Connection - 05/20/2022

It started with a friendly wager on a football game: Colleen Fitzgerald, vice president of research for NDSU, and Jason Carter, vice president of research and economic development for Montana State University, bet a visit to their university's respective research operations at the January 2022 Football Championship Subdivision title game between the Bison and Bobcats.

Thanks to the Bison victory in Frisco, Fitzgerald and NDSU hosted a visit from Carter and an MSU research delegation this past week. The MSU group was welcomed by the NDSU Pep Band, led by Connor Challey, when they arrived at Hector International Airport. From there, the group participated in a series of lab tours and meetings with a varied group of Bison faculty and researchers.

"Our goal was to connect the MSU group with people at every stage of their career -- from assistant professors to university distinguished professors," Fitzgerald said. "This included a memorable performance at the opening reception by NDSU distinguished professor Tom Isern."

Carter said, "Our trip to NDSU was fantastic. We met a lot of great faculty and administrators and I see lots of potential for growing research partnerships. Let's remain competitive on the field but solve grand challenges together."

Joining Carter on the visit was Brett Gunnink, MSU dean of engineering; Craig Ogilvie, MSU associate vice president of research and graduate school dean; and Yves Idzerda, dean of the MSU College of Letters and Science.

Another goal of the visit was to identify infrastructure and research expertise that would be complementary for future joint initiatives. "This bet was a fun way for the people at our institutions to get to know each other better," said Fitzgerald. "Even though we have a history of collaborative research between NDSU and MSU, we presented a number of new areas where we could partner, including materials science and engineering, biomedical research conducted at our COBRE Center for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Strategies in Pancreatic Cancer, energy and food security."

Fitzgerald said the MSU group appreciated seeing the facilities at NDSU. "We foster economic development and support entrepreneurs through our NDSU Research and Tech Park and our state-of-the-art research facilities, like the brand-new Sugihara Hall, are wonderful environments for our research faculty and students to work," she said.

Both NDSU and MSU are among 146 public institutions in the country ranked R1 by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. "R1 is the institute's highest classification possible, and earning it shows that our researchers and their work are among the best," Fitzgerald said.

"While we have a history of working on collaborative research projects with MSU, it makes sense for us to leverage and grow that opportunity. Our deans and researchers are excited about going to Bozeman and building on these new relationships for the advancement of NDSU and the state," Fitzgerald said.

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