Research and Impacts

As a land-grant university, the U of M is committed to conducting research to improve Minnesota’s agricultural and forest products, horticulture, human nutrition, family and community, and environmental quality.

MAES’s multidisciplinary research explores the ecological, economic, and environmental interactions between the agriculture that feeds the world, the environment that sustains the earth, and the human interactions that support our society.

Food and Agriculture

Advancement of agricultural research was the initial call-to-action when the Hatch Act was implemented in 1887. Today, researchers continue to search for key solutions to provide safe, healthy, and economically and environmentally sustainable food sources for a growing population.


Research is at the heart of advancing horticulture understanding to develop new varieties and opportunities for future generations. Our researchers work on projects involving horticultural plants, fruits, vegetables, and flowers with the aim of expanding Minnesota’s horticulture industry.

Environment and Sustainability

As environmental concerns continue to create new challenges, University researchers are committed to finding solutions for everything from forest conservation to developing sustainable cropping systems to discovering alternative and renewable energy sources.

Social and Animal Welfare

As society has moved away from the rural areas and into cities, U of M researchers have been ideally placed to explore the societal, economic, and personal impacts. From affordable urban housing to food safety and animal health concerns, researchers are exploring today’s important welfare issues and discovering solutions.

In 2016, approximately 3.5 million children were the subject of at least one report to Child Protective Services (CPS). Lynette Renner and her team are working to fill the knowledge gap related to how siblings are affected by child maltreatment within their homes particularly as it relates to academic outcomes.

The Minnesota Youth Institute (MNYI) is a life-changing experience where high school students are encouraged to think critically about local and global hunger issues. During the event, the students engage with local leaders, experts, and industries on critical global challenges, participate in hands-on STEM activities and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Minnesota and around the world.

In 2015, the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacekeeping (CRP) at the University of Minnesota conducted an audit of the St. Paul Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission (PCIARC). In total, 18 recommendations were identified for the commission to consider. By the end of 2016, a series of public listening sessions and protests led to changes on the commission. 

Since 1955, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has spent millions of dollars annually attempting to control sea lamprey populations in the Great Lakes. In 2005, Peter Sorensen and his team discovered, identified and synthesized petromyzonamine disulfate and freely licensed its use to the GLFC. To date, sea lamprey is the only example of a successful aquatic vertebrate pest control program at an ecosystem scale in the world.