Medical Device Industry Cluster in Greater Minnesota: Spatial Impacts and Illustrative Case Study


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Minnesota has a long track record of medical and healthcare leadership—think Mayo Clinic to 3M to Medtronic. Building on this reputation, the state has become a global hub of innovation and production for medical devices and technology. The recent announcement of Minnesota as a federally funded Med-Tech Hub is the latest recognition of the state’s national leadership.

In a series of studies, University of Minnesota researchers have mapped and analyzed the state’s medical device industry cluster, exploring its economic impact and the vital role of transportation in its success. In their latest work, researchers analyzed the economic, community, and supply chain aspects of the medical device industry in Minnesota, with particular attention to its impact on Greater Minnesota. 

The new research reveals that while there is a concentration of companies within the Twin Cities metro area, many companies in this cluster are highly dispersed throughout the state. Supply chain mapping demonstrates the importance of regional transportation networks for shipping within the cluster and for reaching national and international markets. And interviews with corporate leaders convey how a business strategy based on industry clusters can benefit individual firms—and their employees and communities.

The research is summarized in an online StoryMap containing the quantitative findings that illustrate the cluster’s statewide expanse. A case study takes a deeper look at one innovative Minnesota firm—Granite Partners —that is investing in the Minnesota medical device industry and other clusters that are principally located in Greater Minnesota.

The findings of this research offer valuable insights for policymakers on how this robust industry drives economic development and competitiveness across Minnesota. They also underscore the importance of infrastructure investment in supporting the cluster’s continued growth.