URC
Michigan Universities Alliance Has 17 5 Billion State Impact

Michigan Universities' Alliance Has $17.5 Billion Impact

Jan. 29, 2016
For every dollar the state invests in the three URC universities, Michigan now reaps $22 in economic benefits.

In an effort to support economic development, Michigan's three largest higher education institutions – the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University – formed the University Research Corridor (URC) in 2007.

In 2014, the URC contributed $17.5 billion to the state economy, which is $700 million up from the $16.8 billion impact in the previous year, and 35% up from 2007, according to a report conducted by the  Anderson Economic Group.

For every dollar the state invests in the three URC universities, Michigan now reaps $22 in economic benefits.

The URC’s $2.104 billion in R&D expenditures in 2014 marks an increase of more than 50% since 2007, when the URC first began benchmarking against the other innovation clusters. This growth far surpassed the growth for all U.S. institutions, as well as the growth for the peer cluster average (31% and 41%, respectively). Overall, the URC ranks fifth among the eight clusters for total R&D in 2014.

The URC retained its second place standing in Anderson’s Innovation Power Ranking for the third year in a row. This ranking indexes defining factors of leading research universities such as talent, R&D and technology commercialization, to arrive at the ranking metric. URC is sandwiched in this ranking between the Southern California cluster (UCLA, UC-San Diego and USC) which is ranked first, and the Northern California cluster (UC-San Francisco, UC-Berkeley and Stanford) which is ranked third.

Since 2002, the three URC universities have cultivated 188 start-up companies, including 71 which have formed in the past five years. All told, more than 19% of URC alumni have founded or co-founded a business, adding an estimated 380,000 businesses to the economy by URC alumni worldwide. Nearly half of these businesses were started in Michigan, and continue to contribute to the economy and spur further innovation throughout the state.

The URC conferred 34,141 degrees including 2,332 medical degrees, the highest number of advanced degrees in the medicine and biological science fields of any peer university innovation cluster. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said that “Our immense pool of talent helps drive the economy and makes Michigan a more attractive place to live and do business.”

Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson said that “Our three universities take research out of the lab and into the market, keeping jobs and investment dollars here in our backyard.”

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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