University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

UND, regional universities receive National Science Foundation Engines grant

Along with five other regional universities, UND has been awarded nearly $1 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines) program.

UND leads one of the 44 teams nationwide in receiving one of the first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards, which aims to help partners collaborate to create economic, societal and technological opportunities for their regions.

UND and its partners from across four states in the region will work to build a framework (the “engine”) that catalyzes autonomous system development and fielding, enabling the accelerated realization of economic and humanitarian benefits from autonomous systems technology across a wide range of use cases.

The grant announcement drew praise of North Dakota’s expanding presence in autonomous systems from Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

“Congratulations to UND for receiving this monumental award,” said Cramer. “This is another feather in the cap of our state’s growing leadership in autonomous systems. Partnering with northern states and the Tribal Nations Research Group is an incredible opportunity to show off North Dakota’s excellence in science and technology.”

UND President Andrew Armacost said he is grateful to the state’s congressional delegation for their support to establish a Regional Innovation Engine. He said he is looking forward to growing cross-institutional and cross-sector collaborations, from partnerships with tribal colleges, NDSU, the NDUS system, and the universities across the other states in the region, to partnering with government entities and industry.

“This award is an excellent opportunity to bring together leaders in autonomous systems,” Armacost said. “Now we can begin working to include entrepreneurs, other academic institutions and industry, in making use of autonomous systems, with the unified goal of achieving global competitiveness. UND truly excels at autonomous systems research and applications, and the state of North Dakota has invested deeply in diversifying its economy through this technology. This project will strengthen connections within the state, expand participation in technological and workforce development, and directly connect resources and capacities across state lines to accelerate the economic benefits.”

“I am grateful to the National Science Foundation for this award funding, and to our congressional delegation for their continuing support,” Armacost said. “I offer my thanks to all those who worked on this project.”

The grant will also focus on driving workforce development initiatives to cultivate needed skills, including engaging all stakeholders and expanding participation of underrepresented groups—especially from native populations that are critical stakeholders across the region.

For more on this development, read the full story at UND Today.