Michigan invests in university efforts to build business and job opportunities

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Investments to partnerships focused on collaboration, commercialization, economic growth and job creation.

LANSING – The Michigan Strategic Fund and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation today voted to invest $6.8 million in university-business partnerships focused on collaboration, commercialization, economic growth and job creation.

“Michigan is one of the top states in the nation for research and development with more than $16 billion in industrial R&D and close to $2 billion in university research,’’ said Michael Finney, CEO and President of the MEDC, who chairs the MSF. “Companies like Google, Facebook and Dell were born on college campuses and we want to keep helping our leading universities turn the latest developments into jobs.”

In July, the MSF established the University Technology Acceleration and Commercialization (UTAC) program through the 21stCentury Jobs Fund. The goal: partnerships between Michigan universities and the private sector focused on collaboration and commercialization of technologies. The board is investing:

$1.8 million to build a Corporate Relations Network for Michigan’s Research Universities. Six public universities and the University Research Corridor are partnering with the private sector to connect business relationship offices at Michigan Technological University, the University of Michigan, UM-Dearborn, Western Michigan University, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

The network will support university projects that work with companies, provide university interns to companies, develop a database of faculty expertise, provide university library resources to small companies, and convene innovation sessions where university experts meet with companies to solve company problems.

$2.43 million to launch a Tech Transfer Talent Network. University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Michigan Tech University, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, and Automation Alley will accelerate the transfer of technology through programs that focus on enhancing talent and strengthening relationships with the private sector.

The plan includes developing: a database of experts  who can assist with tech transfer projects, a Mentor-in-Residence program that embeds experienced entrepreneurs in tech transfer operations to help assess new opportunities, a Tech Transfer Fellows program where graduate student fellows assist in technology assessment and market analysis of tech transfer opportunities, a Post- Doc Fellowship program where post docs and grad students work on research projects that are on the start-up or licensing path, and activities to help recruit and engage new talent to these opportunities

$2.4 million to fund the Michigan Initiative for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MIIE) and Michigan Universities Commercialization Initiative (MUCI). The coalition of all 15 Michigan public universities plans to spin-out start-up companies from the universities and engage the resources of the university and private sector involvement. The Initiative includes two funds: one that provides funding to university projects to commercialize university technology, helping to generate private sector, start- up companies, and the other fund provides funding to university programs to advance entrepreneurial principle and practices among students and faculty.

Michigan’s universities are talent magnets, attracting the brightest minds and producing the most cutting-edge ideas and technologies. Over the past five years, for example, Michigan’s three URC universities – MSU, U-M and Wayne State – have announced an average of one new invention every day, and collectively these discoveries have led to more than 500 license agreements for new technologies and systems.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.