The CEO of the UND Energy and Environmental Research Center will become the leader of the new State Energy Research Center of North Dakota.
Tom Erickson has served as the head of EERC for the past five years.
The new research center was created by the 2019 Legislature. Lawmakers are funding it at $5 million for the biennium.
Erickson said he sees the new center as being a tremendous opportunity for North Dakota. He said there are already three great research programs at the EERC, focusing on lignite, oil and gas and renewables.
"Those are really focused on what we describe as 'applied research,' Erickson said. "Research that's not quite ready for prime time, but with some state and industry cost-share, we can advance it to the commercial stage."
Erickson said the new program is about very early stage research.
"New ideas, new concepts -- it's focused on things that can make a difference 5, 10, 15 years out," Erickson said. "It's a chance for our researchers to dream a little bit, to focus on ideas they've had for a long time, but weren't able to find funding. So now we get that opportunity to do it."
Erickson said this will show the state of North Dakota what we can do moving forward.
Erickson will keep both jobs until the EERC can find a new CEO.