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September 10, 2008

Mayo Clinic + federal military contracts

Here's some from a piece I have in today's paper about Mayo Clinic's federal contract, particularly a military microelectronics contract.

A quiet Mayo Clinic laboratory in northwest Rochester is the center of a multi-million dollar federal contract to study and design microelectronics, like missile circuitry, for the U.S. military.

In May 2005, a $5 million federal contract was awarded to Mayo Clinic to support the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and other government agencies in developing microelectronics technology and applications.

The work includes missile circuit development for the Naval Air Warfare Center, and radiation hardness, meaning reliable operation of electronics in an environment with radiation, for NASA and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The contract’s classifications goes to the level of “Secret.”

The Post-Bulletin acquired copies of the contract through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Originally set to conclude in May 2007, the contract was extend

The contract specifies that it is be done by the Special Purpose Processor Development Group in the Mayo Support Center at 4001 41st St. N.W.

Mayo spokesman Bob Nellis says that lots of contracted research for private and federal groups are always underway. And Mayo refers questions about such projects to the entity that contracted the work.

When asked when the Special Purpose group was formed and how many people work on that team, Nellis answered, “I doubt that would be available.”

Why would a medical center be handling millions of dollars of microelectronic research for government?
“When we are during any sort of research, still ulitmately we are doing research that can help improve a treatment or improve quality of life in a way that can help a patient, in the broad general sense,” says Nellis.

How could missile circuitry be used in a medical sense?

“There may be a technology that we are working on that may have multiple uses,” Nellis said.

He pointed out Mayo’s development of a high-altitude flight suit in World War II as an example.of a military project that lead to medical applications.ed last year with Mayo to 2010. This contract is listed as a “follow-on” to previous contracts.


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