University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Conducting Research at D2D

“Running my study in the D2D Building was a fantastic experience. Not only did I exceed my recruitment goals, but I made a lot of great connections with other researchers and members of the community who were interested in my research.”
– 2014 D2D investigator

D2D provides faculty, staff and student investigators the opportunity to recruit research participants and collect data in a highly efficient manner due to the unique access it provides to over two million fairgoers each year. Since D2D was established in 2014, fairgoer awareness of the facility has grown steadily. In 2017, a new building was constructed, now attracting 60,000+ visitors annually. The 2019 fair saw the highest number of participants enrolled:  over 27,700 fairgoers participated in 55 studies.


“[D2D organizers] were responsive, helpful, and easy to work with. They made this research experience extremely positive.” -2016 D2D investigator

If you plan to apply for outside funding to cover shift fees, contact us at any time to request a letter of support for inclusion in your proposal. A Facilities Description for inclusion in your grant application may be downloaded here.

Research Services Offered

The D2D Research Facility at the Minnesota State Fair provides a turn-key research space for conduct of minimal risk human subjects research that is appropriate for a state fair environment.

Services include:

  • Free admission to the State Fair (up to 4 tickets per shift);
  • Furnishings, basic anthropometric equipment, and supplies;
  • iPads linked to consent forms and survey instruments;
  • U of M secure high-speed wireless and hardwired internet access;
  • Refrigerator and freezer space for on-site sample storage;
  • Guidance in obtaining IRB approval;
  • Consultation on maximizing your recruitment goals, your IRB application, designing your research area, working in the state fair setting, and more;
  • Compliance with state fair rules and regulations.


All University of Minnesota faculty and staff at any campus may apply to conduct research at D2D. In addition, currently enrolled U of M students interested in conducting student-led research projects at the Fair are strongly encouraged to apply. We invite investigators from other colleges and universities, as well as outside agencies and institutions, to conduct research at D2D with or without collaboration with U of M investigators.


D2D is a self-supporting Internal Service Organization of the University of Minnesota. Fees support rent, facility maintenance, state fair licensing, admission tickets, furnishings, equipment & supplies, and staffing. The charge for a half-day shift for studies with at least one UMN investigator is $700; fees for studies with no UMN investigator are higher due to administrative overhead, $1350. In 2023, the average on-site study recruited 153 subjects per shift (5-6 hours) at an average cost of $10.59 per participant. Thus, the facility provides participant flow at a very low cost per subject.

Feedback from investigators indicates that D2D greatly reduces recruitment costs and provides important opportunities for students and early stage investigators to kick-start pilot projects and make faster progress toward extramural funding and scientific impact.

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