Why Partner

Hennepin County, the most populous and diverse county in Minnesota, strives to enhance the health, safety, and quality of life of its 1.3 million residents and is recognized nationally for its proactive, innovative public stewardship. Working with Hennepin County affords researchers and students the opportunity to collaborate with an engaged community partner on pressing issues that impact the local community. Read Provost Rachel T.A. Croson’s remarks to the county board about the significance of this partnership.

Supporting Disparity Reduction and Climate Action

graphic of interconnected disparity domains: employment, education, income, housing, justice, transportation, and health.
  1. Hennepin County is committed to reducing disparities. This critical work spans seven domains: employment, education, income, housing, transportation, health, and justice. HUP strives to ensure partnership work supports one or more of these areas.
  2. Hennepin County is a leader in combatting the effects of climate change. The county's Climate Action Plan focuses on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the changing climate in ways that reduce vulnerabilities and ensure a more equitable and resilient region.

Alignment with the University's Mission

  1. Research and Discovery | HUP projects generate knowledge across fields and disciplines. Projects can culminate in published articles and new scholarship, with findings benefitting county residents and other communities.
  2. Teaching and Learning | Through community-engaged research and other collaborations with Hennepin County, students deepen their learning, gain hands-on experience, and prepare for future roles in their communities.
  3. Outreach and Public Service | HUP projects encourage knowledge exchange between the university and county, and create opportunities for scholarly expertise to inform community-driven solutions.

Alignment with MPact 2025 Systemwide Strategic Plan 

students doing research in a open field

Partnering with Hennepin County allows the university to advance key action items in MPact 2025, including: 

  1. Commitment 2: Discovery, Innovation and Impact | Prioritize research opportunities for all students; Enhance Carnegie Community Engagement designation across the system, and measure and expand outreach and engagement
  2. Commitment 3: MNtersections | Demonstrate state and worldwide leadership in sustainability and environmental teaching, research, and convening power; Develop and deploy new techniques and partnerships for smart farming and sustainable food supplies, and natural resources
  3. Commitment 4: Community & Belonging | Drive mutually beneficial relationships with underserved local communities and strategic partners to enhance society, access to higher education and safe campus environments.

Access to Funding

Hennepin County has financially supported numerous mutually-beneficial projects. In addition, the county serves as an engaged and effective community partner on faculty-led research projects, including on research grants funded by NSF and NIH, as well as many smaller projects.

Access to Data

Hennepin County can provide faculty and students access to a wealth of data for research that informs policy recommendations. For example, researchers with the College of Education & Human Development combined and analyzed data from three early childhood programs to identify children and families that could benefit from follow-ups or referrals. In another example, the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice analyzed the conditions and outcomes for county residents on probation to help determine if probation conditions appropriately matched people's risk and needs.

Ready to partner? Visit the Collaborations page for more details.