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Back in the early 1980s, Minnesota’s economy—largely dependent on natural resources—was taking a beating. The state was reeling from a domestic steel crisis that left about 13,000 workers unemployed on the Iron Range, and global competition was threatening the state’s logging, pulp, and paper industries. To counteract the blow—and avoid a similar occurrence in the future— a group of researchers, legislators, and community members envisioned building a center that would study the economic impact and sustainability of Minnesota’s minerals, forest products, peat, biomass, and water-related industries.
This vision became a reality. In 1985, the Natural Resources Research Institute opened its doors in an abandoned Air Force building. The 20-foot ceilings and cavernous concrete spaces are now filled with science laboratories and industrial-sized equipment.
NRRI, considered an outreach arm of LSBE, is a well-recognized model for University research, innovation and outreach in which the Institute collaborates with its partners (including industry, government, universities, tribes, agencies and communities) in fostering a sustainable, more diversified economy and a healthy environment.
You can learn more about it by visiting www.nrri.umn.edu.