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innesotans have a special connection to water. With the Mighty Mississippi running through our state and 10,000+ lakes, Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline—more than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined. About 13 million acres in Minnesota are covered by water or wetlands. We all have a personal connection to water, but we also have an economic interest in the health and sustainability of our water resources.

Unfortunately, about 40 percent of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers are polluted, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The National Academy of Engineering has identified access to clean water as one of its 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering. Lack of clean water is responsible for more deaths globally than war. About one out of every six people living in the world today does not have adequate access to clean water.

Photo by Rebecca Slater

Water connects our communities The good news is that faculty, students, and alumni in the College of Science and Engineering are literally diving in to take action. Among the many stories in this special issue of Inventing Tomorrow focused on water research, you will read about students and faculty research using underwater robots to study pollution and invasive species. You’ll also read about faculty research that led to a statewide ban, and an eventual nationwide ban, on an ingredient in antibacterial soaps that was ending up in our waterways. You will further learn about research to control harmful algae blooms and keep our oceans free of plastics.

last year’s Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Water research also connects communities. New faculty research working with Minnesota Tribal collaborators uses wild rice as a flagship for assuring clean water and equitable communities. Alumni from our college worked in clean-up efforts in

I am proud of the work of my colleagues who are employing the latest research techniques to study water, educating the next generation of water researchers, and connecting communities around this vital resource.

Q&A with the new CSE Dean

Mos Kaveh was named dean of the College of Science and Engineering in June 2018. He had served as interim dean since January. The following interview was excerpted from an article in our Fall 2018 CSE Alumni and Friends Enewsletter. To read the full conversation with the Dean, visit

What are the biggest changes you have seen in your 40+ years with the college? When I first came to the University of Minnesota as a faculty member in 1975, this was a commuter campus where people came and went only for classes. Today, our students are much more tied to campus through student groups, research, entrepreneurship opportunities, and other experiential learning opportunities. This has created a vibrant community that has helped us to attract top talent and increase our graduation rates to new highs. We’ve also been able to attract a more diverse student population. This year, our class of first-year students will have the highest percentage of women ever and is one of the most ethnically diverse.



What is your vision for the college’s role in our high-tech economy? By growing our college, we have a great opportunity to be part of the engine that drives Minnesota’s economy. Minnesota has truly been a miracle state when it comes to the STEM economy. But, I am concerned that the state’s momentum may have slowed. The Twin Cities failed to even make the first cut for Amazon’s second headquarters. The media said that the reason was that there was not enough technology talent to meet the workforce demand. This is a wake-up call for our entire state. The business community, state leaders, and the legislature must acknowledge the problem and recognize that the College of Science and Engineering can and should be a key piece of the solution for providing that top echelon of the high-tech workforce. We need to grow our programs. Now is the moment for us to make that case to the legislature—our state’s economy depends on it.

Inventing Tomorrow Fall 2018  

In this water-themed issue, students and faculty at the College of Science and Engineering use the latest research techniques to study water...

Inventing Tomorrow Fall 2018  

In this water-themed issue, students and faculty at the College of Science and Engineering use the latest research techniques to study water...