The University partners with the world's most renowned institutions and individuals to address global grand challenges—challenges that increasingly extend beyond geographic boundaries.

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Key Units and Contacts

Research and Innovation Office

The Research and Innovation Office (RIO) is a central resource for faculty, staff, students, and external partners to conduct, manage, and sponsor research. See International Research Support and Guidance for resources relating to research integrity and transparency, disclosure and management of potential conflicts, hosting non-U.S. students and scholars, travel abroad, developing international agreements, and compliance with trade controls.

GPS Alliance

The Global Programs and Strategy Alliance is the central international office for the University of Minnesota system. Support for international research includes advice and counsel on evaluating foreign partners and signing of agreements, travel resources, and funding.


The Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC) is a research and innovation hub based at the University of Minnesota. SPARC engages researchers and practitioners across disciplines in the U.S. and globally to establish new large-scale programs that catalyze collaboration, innovate for new discoveries, and deliver practical new solutions that address these critical challenges. SPARC promotes and advances partnerships and projects that put our partners, faculty, staff, and students at the forefront of global innovation, impact, and change.

Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility

The mission of the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility is to advance health world-wide through collaborative partnerships, sustainable programs, and academic excellence—and do it in a socially responsible, equitable way. The center supports global health research at the University of Minnesota as well as through networks around the world.

Institute on the Environment

The Institute on the Environment supports breakthrough research across disciplines, develops the next generation of global leaders, and builds transformative partnerships across the state, region, and globe.

Human Rights 

  • The Human Rights Center at the Law School promotes research on real-world challenges, prepares future lawyers with the commitment and skills to defend human rights, and partners with civil society, governments, and institutions to impact law, policy, and practice.
  • The Human Rights Lab is an interdisciplinary space for faculty and students to investigate and model ways that cutting-edge research can be used more effectively with NGOs, communities, institutions, and policymakers to reduce inequalities in the enjoyment of human rights around the world.
  • The Human Rights Initiative is a joint effort of the College of Liberal Arts and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs to support interdisciplinary engaged research and teaching in the field of human rights with a goal of strengthening practice and the profession overall.

International Partnerships

The University of Minnesota has a long and rich tradition of partnerships, exchanges, and informal linkages with institutions and organizations abroad.

United Nations Strategic Development Goals (SDGs)

The system-wide initiative UMN Sustainable Development Goals Initiative seeks to support and promote transdisciplinary research, teaching, and partnerships to advance sustainable development in Minnesota, the U.S., and the globe through grants, information, and opportunities linked to SDG targets and indicators. The GPS Alliance is partnering with the Office for Public Engagement and other University centers, institutes, and research groups in supporting this initiative.