About HUP

The Hennepin-University Partnership (HUP) is a nationally recognized, jointly funded collaboration between Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota. HUP catalyzes and supports mutually beneficial partnerships that create positive community change. We do this by promoting evaluation and policy analysis work, data analytics, exchanges of academic and practitioner expertise, internship opportunities for UMN students, and learning opportunities for county staff. HUP is a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.

Our Mission: To improve the well-being of our community by fostering innovative county-university collaborations in the areas of community-based research, information-sharing, and student engagement.

Our Vision: Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota leverage each others’ strengths to improve the quality of life within our community.

Our Work

Hennepin County and the UMN engage in a wide, ever-evolving array of work. This work takes place within each organization's unique context and culture. HUP uses our knowledge of both institutions to effectively engage leadership, managers, staff, faculty, and students to build sustainable connections.

Most HUP work occurs when researchers or county staff contact us with a request. HUP also offers formal programming to build relationships and generate projects, such as:

Catalyzing Collaborations

HUP Mixer
  • Making Connections | HUP establishes initial connections between faculty and county staff. These connections may lead to a collaboration, or simply be an opportunity to learn from each other.
  • Supporting Research | HUP works closely with county staff and UMN faculty to build support for and plan complex or longer-term research projects that support county priority areas.
  • Mixers | County staff and faculty work together to identify and propose collaborative projects, which are then reviewed and selected for funding.

Learn more about how HUP catalyzes and supports collaborations

Engaging Students

student group studying
  • Capstones & Class Projects | Graduate students work on county-identified projects over a semester, providing students an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to real-world challenges.
  • Internships & Fellowships | Students have the chance to gain work and field experience, and the county develops a diverse, talented workforce.
  • HUP Collaborative Research Assistantship | Graduate students conduct applied research while partaking in development opportunities. Learn more

Exchanging Information

Exchanging Information
  • Class highlights | HUP recommends university courses to county staff as an opportunity to use tuition reimbursement and support professional development.
  • Newsletters | Bi-weekly emails outline relevant UMN and HUP events and opportunities for county staff, and quarterly emails provide updates on the impact of HUP projects.
  • Webinars | Prominent faculty present monthly to county staff on relevant topics, such as child well-being, green energy, and housing policy.

Explore Past HUP events


HUP was established in 2004 as a jointly funded program between Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota. A master cooperative agreement (MCA) was established in 2007 to reduce administrative barriers to collaborative work between the institutions. From 2012 to 2021, HUP catalyzed more than 200 projects totaling over $3.7 million in funding, in addition to federal government and foundation grants. Since its inception, HUP has become a nationally recognized model of collaboration between academia and local government.

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