Driven 2 Discover Funding

2022 Research Opportunity Announcement:
Driven to Discover Research Facility at the Minnesota State Fair

CSB/SJU Undergraduate Research is excited to partner with the Driven to Discover Research Facility (D2D) at the Minnesota State Fair to conduct research at the Minnesota State Fair. We invite faculty and their students to take advantage of this unique opportunity to quickly and efficiently recruit fairgoers as participants in minimal-risk, human-subjects research at the D2D Research Facility. Undergraduate Research provides the $1350 associated for one shift at the fair for a faculty mentor and their student researchers. 


Faculty are invited to submit a proposal here by December 6th, 2021.

You will be prompted to upload the following information as a single PDF or Word document. Please limit your submission to 1-2 pages, if possible. Briefly describe:

  1. Aims:  your research goals and objectives
  2. Significance:  the potential impact on your field of study
  3. Study design:  include eligibility criteria and desired sample size
  4. Data collection methods:  include length of protocol with consent (note: studies should not take more than 10 minutes to allow for higher number of participants)
  5. How undergraduate students will be involved in this project (note that at least 2 undergraduate researchers should be co-investigators on this project)
  6. Comfort level with representing and promoting CSB/SJU to fair goers
  7. References


The CSB/SJU Undergraduate Research Faculty Advisory Committee will review proposals and choose one proposal for funding by December 15, 2022. The CSB/SJU proposal will then undergo review by a panel of researchers from the University of Minnesota and D2D staff to determine appropriateness for the D2D mission at the State Fair. 


The primary mission of D2D is to increase the pace, efficiency, and diversity of enrollment in new or ongoing human subjects research at the University, by bringing projects and researchers into closer contact with the Minnesota community. D2D provides access to 2 million fairgoers each year. Many attendees return to the fair year after year, making longitudinal studies possible. Further, the fair attracts individuals from across Minnesota and so offers an efficient means of enrolling a more diverse group of participants from outside the metropolitan area.


D2D established a presence at the 2014 fair and in 2017 a new building was constructed in order to better accommodate more research teams and fairgoers. Since then D2D annually attracts over 60,000 visitors per year. The COVID-19 pandemic brought changes to the 2021 fair; daily attendance was down roughly 40% across the fair, as well as at D2D. The table below shows D2D data from the past four fairs.



# of Studies

Bldg Foot Traffic

# Ppts Enrolled


















  • In 2019, over 25,000 fairgoers participated in at least one of the 47 on-site data collection studies. Studies enrolling adults averaged 206 participants per shift (5-6.5 hours), with a range of 22-412. Studies enrolling youth averaged 61 participants per shift (range 27-125).


  • In 2021, nearly 11,000 fairgoers participated in at least one of the 34 on-site data collection studies. Studies enrolling adults averaged 114 participants per shift (5-6.5 hours), with a range of 21-250. Studies enrolling youth averaged 92 participants per shift (range 20-221).


When D2D researchers were surveyed about their experience, 97% of respondents from the past four years indicated they were either satisfied or very satisfied with conducting research at D2D, and most expressed interest in future participation. In summary, bringing your study to the Minnesota State Fair affords you the potential to reach a large, diverse population of potential research subjects, facilitating rapid enrollment.




There is no specified research focus to which projects must adhere. Research from a broad array of disciplines is encouraged. The focus of the D2D application review is not on the research question, but rather on whether the research project is:

  • interactive with the public, involving human subjects by collecting data through surveys, focus groups, biospecimens, measurements, tests, or other means,
  • appropriate for the state fair environment,
  • minimally invasive, posing minimal risk,
  • requires no more than 30 minutes of a participant’s time during the fair.


Preference will be given to projects designed for on-site data collection. However, projects recruiting solely for off-site studies are also encouraged to apply. Multiple-year projects are accepted.




The D2D Research Facility accommodates up to ten studies at a time, in curtained-partitioned bays approximately 10’ wide by 12’ long. Studies are scheduled in two shifts, from 9am-2pm and 2:30pm-9pm, providing a total of 240 shifts over the 12 days of the fair. Research space and shifts are assigned after application determinations are made and participation confirmed. The average number of shifts per study in 2019 was 3.5 (mode = 3, range = 1-12); average number of shifts in 2021 was 3.3 (mode = 2, range 1-12).


In addition to research space, the following resources are included in the fee:


  • Free admission to the State Fair for researchers and their staff (up to 4 tickets per shift);
  • iPads linked to consent forms and survey instruments;
  • UMN eduroam high-speed wireless and hardwired internet access;
  • Tables and chairs, basic anthropometric equipment, and supplies;
  • Refrigerator and freezer space for on-site sample storage;
  • Consultation with D2D staff on maximizing your recruitment goals, obtaining IRB approval, determining staffing needs, setting up your research area, recruiting subjects, working in the State Fair setting, and more;

Compliance with State Fair rules and regulations.