Kennedy And Bresciani: Invest In An Innovative Economy

Digitally connectivity and innovation backed by research and development (R&D) are the two crucial aspects that make an economy diversified along with its ability to generate abundant opportunities for citizens. The state of North Dakota, though a pioneer in digital infrastructure and broadband access, lacks sufficient value for research. Therefore, the presidents of University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University (NDSU), Mark Kennedy and Dean Bresciani respectively, conducted a state-wide tour with their proposal to invest 25 million USD in supporting research at the universities.

North Dakota ranks mostly among the top-ten US states when measured on the New Economy Index. For example, as per the research by Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, in 2018, the state ranked 9th in its implementation of the digital economy and business start-ups, 10th in health IT and 12th in online agriculture. The leading institutions of higher education in North Dakota, NDSU and UND, contribute greatly to these areas along with the fresh wave of proficient graduates and capable workforce every year.

However, the ranking of North Dakota in terms of R&D warrants urgent attention. The state ranks 36th in the context of industry investment in R&D, 41st in high tech jobs and 36th in scientists and engineers. Likewise, the ranking regarding the generation of patents, venture capital, and Initial Public Offerings is also apprehensive. Both UND and NDSU have yet to exploit their full research potential. This justifies the need to invest considerably in R&D at North Dakota’s higher institutions, in general, and UND and NDSU, in particular, in order to make key industries and sectors such as energy and agriculture robust and the state’s economy diversified and resilient.

It can be safely assumed that the proposed state investment of $250 million at NDSU and UND can bring about long term positive economic impact on the State and Private Sector through several means counting, but not restricted to; economic diversification, enhanced production factors, and the growth of new markets.

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