We'll admit skepticism when former Gov. Mike Rounds proposed nearly two decades ago the state's public universities dramatically step up their research efforts.

Universities are great places for research, but the task is extremely expensive. In addition, there are hundreds of universities who have a huge head start in research, with longstanding reputations, money, facilities, research faculty and results. For a state university to get into the game seemed overwhelming to us.

But we've been proven wrong. South Dakota public universities have successfully gotten into the research field, and had tremendous results. Readers of the Daily Leader have seen many articles about successful research projects at Dakota State University, in most cases conducted by faculty and students together, but at other times with some independence from each other.

Naturally, one would expect the best research results to come from a school's best expertise, but there has been great work conducted across all academic disciplines. At DSU, there has been plenty of excellent cybersecurity research, but also great work in science, business and liberal arts.

Other state schools have also done remarkably well. Agriculture research at South Dakota State University has been very good, and the pace is picking up. Just this week, we were reading about a professor who is investigating the use of algae to reduce phosphorus in the liquid waste streams from swine units and make field application easier. In addition, he also hopes to utilize the algae to remove carbon dioxide and ammonia from indoor and exhaust air.

We also receive regular press releases from other state universities on their research projects in all sorts of academic fields. It's exciting to see the accomplishments, and inspiring to anticipate the future work.

We tip our hat to faculty, students and administrators on their research achievements.

-- Jon M. Hunter