Building a strong economy requires cooperation among government, industry and academia. Under President Mary Sue Coleman’s leadership, the University of Michigan has 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.
Her wide-ranging economic development efforts include the creation of the University Research Corridor (URC) with Michigan State and Wayne State universities, launching the U-M Business Engagement Center, increased undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurism, stronger technology transfer efforts, and more — all focused on transforming the economy in Michigan and beyond.
The URC works to strengthen the role of the state’s top research universities in transforming the economy through collaboration, events and outreach. The URC spends more than $2.1 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.
Coleman was instrumental in starting Ann Arbor SPARK — a partnership of local university, business, government, entrepreneurial and community leaders who work together to strengthen the business environment for innovative companies.
She also was a big supporter of U-M Tech Transfer and made it possible for the office to move to the North Campus Research Complex and open the Accelerator, where 25 U-M startup companies are now in the process of launching.
On the state level, U-M collaborates with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. 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.