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 were filled with science laboratories and industrial-sized equipment.
To foster the economic development of Minnesota’s Natural Resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.
NRRI’s values are based on the desire and right of all Minnesotans to have a reasonable standard of prosperity, choices in where they live and recreate, and the satisfaction of knowing that the state’s natural resources are being well managed and protected.
NRRI 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. The effort will be based on both research to make informed economic and environmental decisions and on an integrated effort to provide the range of outreach services necessary for technology development and transfer, business development and experiential learning in the context of informed environmental stewardship.