Building a strong economy requires cooperation among government, industry, and academia. We have been a leader in creating and supporting several key collaborations with the goal of aligning the perspectives and resources of the three sectors for maximum impact.
Ann Arbor SPARK is a partnership of local university, business, government, entrepreneurial, and community leaders who work together to strengthen the business environment for innovative companies. U-M works closely with the organization to encourage companies seeking to start up, expand, or move into the region.
Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and U-M comprise the University Research Corridor (URC). Through collaboration, events, and outreach, this alliance works to strengthen the role the state’s top research universities play in transforming the economy. URC spends more than $1.8 billion in research, and educates 137,583 students. Its economic impact on Michigan increased from $12.9 billion in 2006 to $15.2 billion in 2010, and it generated $426 million in 2010 state tax revenue even as state support for higher education has declined.
On the state level, U-M collaborates with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). This public–private partnership offers a number of business assistance services and capital programs for business attraction and acceleration, entrepreneurship, strategic partnerships, and talent development. These include:
- The Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN), a network comprising six major public Michigan universities, connects Michigan’s corporations to critical university assets to help promote innovative research and grow Michigan’s economy.The Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIIE) and the Michigan Universities Commercialization Initiative (MUCI) are statewide collaborations among public universities to promote regional economic development and entrepreneurship.
- The Tech Transfer Talent Network is a collaboration among seven universities led by U-M to establish regional talent tools, programs, and resources to enhance university tech transfer performance. Modeled after several U-M tools and programs, the Talent Network provides funds for regional and shared resources to enhance the commercialization of university research.
U-M’s Institute for Labor, Employment, and the Economy, has programs aimed at assessing, understanding, and encouraging economic development. They include:
- The Center for Business Acceleration and Incubation Studies carries out market feasibility studies for proposed new business incubators in the region to help lay the foundation for success.
- The Technology Commercialization and Assistance program proactively identifies the capabilities and initiatives of emerging or established companies and matches them with technology available at Michigan universities.
The Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition is an international business plan competition. One of the largest of its kind, the competition is sponsored by a network of groups in Michigan committed to bolstering innovation and entrepreneurship in the state. U-M co-sponsors the event through the University Research Corridor. Four U-M ventures have won prizes.