HUP Mixer

HUP Mixers bring together University faculty, PhD students, and County staff to identify collaborations that will enhance the health, safety, and quality of life of Hennepin County residents. Mixer attendees can apply for the county-funded HUP Collaborative Grant (HCG).

What is a Mixer? 

HUP Mixers involve round robin discussions structured to help Hennepin County staff and UMN researchers connect on a pre-determined topic. Mixer topics are selected based on Hennepin County's disparity reduction and climate action strategies. 

Mixers have two goals. Goal 1: encourage UMN researchers and county staff to propose collaborative research proposals, one of which is selected by the HUP Leadership Team to receive the HCG. Goal 2: create an opportunity for UMN researchers and county staff to meet and form relationships that may lead to future, unrelated collaborations.

Mixers are highly organized. Attendees rotate among facilitated tables, with each table having a predetermined sub-topic. Applying for the HCG is not a requirement to attend the Mixer.

What is the HUP Collaborative Grant?

The HCG is a county-funded applied research grant which awards up to $50,000 to one collaborative project per Mixer. The purpose of the HCG is to encourage University faculty and Hennepin County staff to partner on projects that address an issue of interest to both entities. Learn more about the Mixer and HCG process below.

About the 2023 Topic | TBA

The 2023 Mixer Topic will be announced at a later date. Check back for updates!

HCG Eligibility & Application

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Applicants must include at least one Hennepin County staff member and at least one professor or PhD student from the UMN. PhD students must have support from their advisor and advisors must be available to help guide the research. Strong preference is given to applications submitted by at least one person who attended the HUP Mixer.

How to Apply

Applicants are asked to first submit a Letter of Interest, then a completed application form that includes a project description and a detailed budget. Strong preference is given to applications which are submitted by at least one person who attended the HUP Mixer. HUP will review letters of interest and provide support for full proposal submission.

Application materials should be emailed to: [email protected]

  • Letter of Interest template
  • Full Proposal – Cover Page template
  • Full Proposal – Proposal Content template (word limit = 1,000) 

Selection Process

Proposals will be reviewed by the HUP team and advisory group on the following criteria. High scoring proposals will move on to a final selection process by the HUP leadership team. 

  • Relevance to the mixer theme
  • Project proposal should clearly outline potential impacts on specific Hennepin County policies and/or practices  
  • Project will build off of existing academic research and generate new knowledge
  • Preference will be given to projects which involve student research
  • Readiness of project to begin and likelihood of project completion within one-year time period

Support from HUP

HUP will be involved in each step of the grant process. After the Mixer, HUP will host a group information session about the HCG with an opportunity to sign-up for individual office hours appointments to address questions. Once letters of interest are submitted, HUP will again host office hour appointments for questions regarding the full proposal. Once an awardee is selected, HUP will support the project team in submitting a work order, working through any barriers that arise, and disseminating final products at the end of the funding period.  

At any time throughout the process, applicants can email [email protected] with questions.

Award Terms

  • The award should be used to fund University of Minnesota staff/faculty/student time. 
  • Work should begin within 1-2 months of selection announcement.
  • Hennepin County staff should plan to commit approximately 5% of their staff time to the project. This is intended to help keep projects on track, build partner relationships, and ensure partner expectations on final products are in alignment. 
  • Project partners will have ongoing and regular check-ins facilitated by HUP.
  • The work should be completed one year from the start date, resulting in a report to be submitted to Hennepin County and the University of Minnesota, and results may be presented at an internal Hennepin County webinar.
  • Awardees should communicate any project developments, challenges and/or achievements — such as evidence of positive changes for the community or in relevant public policy, publications, conference presentations, creative work, press releases, etc. — to [email protected] as soon as possible during the funding period.
  • Any publications or products, including the final report, arising from the grant should acknowledge that it was "Made possible through funding from Hennepin County and support from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and the Hennepin-University Partnership (HUP)."
  • Changes in work timeline, scope, and/or budget must be approved by both project partners. Contact [email protected] to create a change order, which will allow for changes to the original work order and ask for justification of changes.

Previously Funded Projects

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Health Care Impact of Hennepin County's Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) Pilot Program

Project Partners: Hennepin County Human Services and the School of Public Health’s Health Policy & Management Division. 

This project will explore the short-term impacts of receiving GBI on participants' healthcare utilization and overall wellbeing. 


Meeting the Complex Needs of Parents in Hennepin County’s Child Protection Defense Unit

Project Partners: Adult Representation Services and the School of Public Health’s Epidemiology and Community Health Division

The goal of this project is to advance Hennepin County Child Protection Defense Unit's (HCCPDU) efforts to holistically support parents to be successful caregivers.


Determining Alignment of Probation Conditions [Final Report]

Project Partners: The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice (University of Minnesota) and Hennepin County Department of Operations and Innovations Services

This research project is intended to demonstrate whether the conditions of probation ordered at sentencing are helping or hindering successful probationer outcomes in Hennepin County. The results of this research have the potential to impact the timing of the initial risk assessment, the manner in which the court pronounces the probation sentence, and the manner in which probation resources are allocated in Hennepin County.

Building Healthy Children and Strong Families: Increasing Access to Early Developmental Screening and Early Intervention [final presentation or report]

Project Partners: University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration and Hennepin County Health and Human Services

This project provides valuable screening and early intervention data analysis to support family engagement, increase screening and referral rates, and identify reasons why families choose or decline early intervention services. Community outreach is a key aspect of this project, including increasing the number of parent connectors in hard-to-reach communities and linking UMN resources to Hennepin County resources during community engagement events.


Identifying factors associated with child maltreatment re-reporting and recurrence, and foster care re-entry [Final Report]

Project Partners: Hennepin County Department of Human Services and University of Minnesota School of Social Work and Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

This project integrated data from a variety of sources to identify the factors associated with the recurrence of child maltreatment, so the county could adopt policies and practices that produce better outcomes for children and families who enter foster care or the child protective services system. Impacts include implementing new county-wide racial equity training, adopting new information-sharing and decision-making frameworks, and changing the assessment process to better meet the needs of children and families.


Use of Building Automation Systems to Identify Inefficient Operation [Final Presentation]

Project Partners: Hennepin County’s Facility Services and the University's School of Architecture within the College of Design

This project worked to ensure that energy consuming devices in selected Hennepin County buildings use only as much energy as needed to perform their intended function. This was done by identifying significant energy consuming devices, and employing both simple tasks performed by building operators to monitor those devices for hidden malfunctions and proper operating ranges so that those errors are remedied quickly. This project resulted in a report that outlines specific strategies for operational practice at Hennepin County.

Ask Me: Supported Housing Preferences for Transitioning Youth with Neuro-diverse Disorders

Project Partners: Human Services & Public Health, Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and College of Design

This project aimed to learn the housing preferences of youth with neuro-diverse disorders who were transitioning into adult services, whether they feel their needs were currently being met, and what targeted accommodation for them would look like. The project resulted in general design guidance and identified future areas of exploration, though there were not enough responses to statistically support more specific design recommendations.


Community of Scholars Program (COSP) - Hennepin Summer Graduate Internship Program

Project Partners: Hennepin County Human Resources Department and the University of Minnesota Office for Diversity in Graduate Education

The University’s Community of Scholars Program (COSP) supports the professional success of graduate and PhD students from diverse backgrounds. Inspired by a connection made at the Fall 2015 HUP Mixer, the COSP and the County’s Human Resources Department created a summer internship program in early 2016. COSP students were hired to work on projects that included analyzing and recommending improvements to the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) application process and a demographic analysis for the County’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan.