2 BOXES — Mayo gets $5 million federal contract

By Jeff Kiger

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

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 extended last year with Mayo to 2010. This contract is listed as a "follow-on" to previous contracts.

Mayo refers questions about such projects to the entity that contracted the work, said Mayo spokesman Bob Nellis.

But Nellis said that all Mayo’s research ultimately helps improve treatment or quality of life for patients. For instance, Mayo’s development of a high-altitude flight suit in World War II led to medical applications, he said.

The work is to be done by the Special Purpose Processor Development Group in the Mayo Support Center at 4001 41st St. N.W., the contract said. The Mayo Support Center was originally built by Western Digital as a development center with a state-of-art clean room, though never occupied by the computer disk maker. Mayo bought the building in 2000.

From 2000 to 2003, "Defense Missile and Space Systems — Advanced Development" for the U.S. Navy was listed as the top subject of federal contracts for Mayo, far overshadowing any medical-related contracts.

Federal contracts and federal grants are separate. Organizations like Mayo bid from contracts, while they apply for grant money. Mayo Foundation was presented $178 million in grants in 2006, the last year fully compiled by The same year, it had $22.7 million in contracts.

Prominent Minnesota federal contracts in 2007


Lockheed Martin Corp - $429 million

Alliant Techsystems, Inc. - $383 million

Hormel Geo A & Co. - $78 million

Associated Milk Producers Inc - $20 million

Mayo Foundation - $15 million

Crenlo, Inc.- $1.4 million

State oF Minnesota, $1.4 million

Fastenal Company- $1.3 million


Ciber Inc. - $440,283

City of Rochester - $95,521


Mayo Clinic’s federal contracts


  • Amount: $9.5 million
  • Contracts: 29
  • Navy contracts: $6.2 million


  • Amount: $9.5 million
  • Contracts: 66
  • Navy contracts: $5.5 million


  • Amount: $11.7 million
  • Contracts: 65
  • Navy contracts: $6.2 million


  • Amount: $11.4 million
  • Contracts: 19
  • Navy contracts: $3.7 million


  • Amount: $21.4 million
  • Contracts: 53
  • Navy contracts: $4.7 million


  • Amount: $27. 6 million
  • Contracts: 56
  • Navy contracts: $4.2 million


  • Amount: $22.7 million
  • Contracts: 63
  • Navy contracts: $1.7 million


  • Amount: $17.3 million
  • Contracts: 63
  • Navy contracts: – $301,461 deallocated

— Data from FedSpending.Org.

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