With Michigan’s economy in trouble and unemployment high, research conducted in the state seems to be the only area in which the state has been advancing. And the opening of Michigan’s University Research Corridor headquarters in Lansing on Friday shows that research growth doesn’t appear to be slowing any time soon. The new facility will allow for further collaborative research between the state’s three main research universities. The opportunities stemming from the URC could be beneficial not only to the University, but also to the improvement of the state. Because the state’s economy will increasingly rely on science and technology, it is important that the URC continues to lead the way in research.
As reported by the Daily on Friday, the URC headquarters opened its doors this week. The URC, formed in 2007, aims to improve research opportunities by bringing together the state’s three major research universities: the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. With each participating institution bringing forth its own specialties and research concentrations, the hope is that the URC will facilitate collaborative advancements in research and success for the state.
The opening of the headquarters comes at an opportune time, since the University of Michigan has just been awarded two significant research grants from Google totaling $425,000. The first grant, worth $325,000, will be used to investigate how large computer systems can better save energy. The other $100,000 grant will help University researchers concentrate on developing energy efficiency hardware.
The research that the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State produce can have life-changing effects. The University of Michigan has a wealth of powerful research programs — the computer technology that the Google grants encourage are only one such program. In particular, the University has surged ahead in embryonic stem cell research since the passage of a statewide ballot proposal in 2008 that loosened strict restrictions on the research in the state. Stem cell research isn’t simply an exercise in academia — it has the potential to cure debilitating diseases. And Michigan State’s agricultural research, along with Wayne State’s urban research, could have important practical applications in food production and community development.
But as much as isolated research is valuable, collaboration among the universities could lead to even more breakthroughs in science and technology. Through the URC, researchers at the state’s research universities can benefit from the cooperation of the other two contributing research institutions. The sharing of knowledge would hasten research progress and bring about more technology that will make the world a better place.
Increased university research will also give the state a chance to tap into a thriving economic resource. Michigan’s future economy, long dependent on the automotive industry, lies in scientific and technological advancements. Research developments will encourage businesses to make their home in Michigan, bringing jobs to the state and encouraging a potentially profitable economic sector.
The significant research developments that begin at the URC and at the University can have real-world effects in science and technology and can be a big boost for the state’s economy. The University should continue to embark on collaborative research that benefits this institution and the state.