HUP supports collaborations of all shapes and sizes between Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota. HUP’s involvement varies by project, ranging from providing administrative support to being an active partner throughout the project. We work to ensure projects are meaningful, impactful, and aligned with County and University priorities such as disparity reduction, climate action, and student engagement.


  1. County staff contact us with requests for expertise, or UMN faculty contact us with collaboration ideas. Contact HUP
  2. We proactively explore new collaborative opportunities, and propose new partnerships that align with County and University strategy. 



Interested partners can come to HUP at any stage in their project development. From having a general need to a clearly defined project proposal, HUP can help. Below are a few examples of what this might look like.

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.

Generating New Approaches

When there are complex policy challenge, HUP may hold a Mixer. Mixers generate multidisciplinary project proposals which are reviewed and selected for funding.


What Makes an Impactful Collaboration?

Alignment with County Goals The project works towards disparity reduction or climate action.
Academically Interesting The project poses challenging research questions.
Supported by both partners The County and the University support the project's goals.
Community-based Principles The project puts the impacted community first.
Effective Communication Communication between project leads and partners is clear and often.


Partnership Contracting

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Master Cooperative Agreement (MCA)

Leaders from the University of Minnesota and Hennepin County sign the original Master Cooperative Agreement in 2007.
Leaders from the University of Minnesota and Hennepin County sign the original Master Cooperative Agreement in 2007.

The MCA streamlines the contracting process between Hennepin County and the UMN, allowing the county to contract with the university without negotiating terms and conditions for each individual project. The MCA includes terms covering data practices, intellectual property rights, publications, subcontracting, and payment.

Work done under the MCA is accomplished by executing a work order. A work order is needed for projects where Hennepin County pays the UMN. No-cost work orders may be used to access the data privacy terms in the MCA. A work order is not needed for most unfunded projects.

HUP oversees the MCA and work order process. Please contact HUP before starting a work order.

MCA and Amendment

Work Order Approval Process

  1. Hennepin County and UMN partners agree to collaborate on a project involving county funding.
  2. Project partners notify HUP, and HUP staff help them complete a work order template, if needed.
  3. Hennepin County sends the completed work order template first to the UMN for signatures and then to the appropriate county authority for final approval. Work orders above $100,000 must be approved by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, which may take a month or longer.

Work Order

Change Order