The University Research Corridor released its second annual report today, highlighting the latest progress on collaborative efforts between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University to revitalize Michigan’s ailing economy.
Formed in 2006, to help the three Michigan research universities combine resources and compete with other top research institutions, the URC has generated about $13.3 billion of the state’s economy in the past year. That money includes the form of earnings for alumni and students from the three URC schools and earnings for the corridor’s faculty and staff. That $13.3 billion was an increase of $453.5 million from last year.
When compared to other research collaborations, the URC fell in the rankings for Research and Development expenditures, dropping from fourth to fifth. But, it rose in the ranks for both patent grants and technology licenses, going from fifth to fourth and sixth to fifth, respectively.
Student enrollment at the three universities also increased by 2,485 students collectively.
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman said in a conference call Tuesday that one of the URC’s goals is to emphasize the importance of entrepreneurship to the future economic success of the state.
“Entrepreneurship education needs to be number one,” she said.
The report, completed by the East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, is the second in a series of annual reports meant to measure the impact of the URC on the state’s economy.
The report also analyzed Michigan’s natural resources, finding that biomass and wind are the two most abundant sources of energy. It outlined how the URC is helping to develop the state’s alternative energy sources, including organic solar cells at the University of Michigan, research on a new process to break down cellulose for biomass fuel at Michigan State University’s Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory and Wayne State University’s research on catalyst development to support biodiesel production.
Cynthia Wilbanks, the University’s vice president for government relations, said the URC aims to continue bringing money to the state ans taking part in alternative energy research.
“Looking ahead to next year, there’s a lot of attention in the need to invest in R&D and alternative energy,” she said. “No matter who is elected president, this will be a very high priority.”
Wilbanks said that in the future, the URC will look for increased federal funding.
“We have the infrastructure, we certainly have shown that,” she said.
The six main benchmarks the report highlights are student enrollment, overall economic impact, overall state fiscal impact, Research and Development expenditures, overall expenditures and how the URC compares with peer universities.
The URC will formally present the report at a day-long event at Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center this afternoon. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman will give the keynote address at the environment-themed event.