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April 28, 2015

Michigan’s University Research Corridor contributes $16.8 billion to Michigan economy

Michigan’s University Research Corridor remains competitive with the nation’s top university research clusters, contributing $16.8 billion to Michigan’s economy according to the 8th Annual Economic Impact and Benchmark Report.

The URC, an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, focuses on increasing economic prosperity and connecting Michigan to the world.

The report, prepared by East Lansing, Mich.-based Anderson Economic Group, compared the URC’s performance to peer university innovation clusters including Northern California, Southern California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania.

To further demonstrate the URC’s strength in research, innovation and talent, 2013 marked the second year in a row that it ranks #2 among these highly respected schools in the Innovation Power Ranking. Only the Southern California Cluster (UCLA, UC-San Diego and USC) ranked higher. The IPR weights talent and research at 40 percent each and technology transfer and commercialization at 20 percent, reflecting how large research universities typically allocate efforts.

Michigan’s economy continues to benefit from the URC universities. The $16.8 billion net impact in Michigan is up from $16.6 billion the previous year and $12.9 billion reported in 2007. For every dollar the state invested in the three universities, Michigan netted $21 in economic benefits, according to the report.

The report also indicates growth in research and development at the three leading research universities comprising Michigan’s URC. Its $2.1 billion in R&D expenditures in 2013 marks an increase of 51 percent since 2007, a rate of increase that far surpassed the average for other university clusters as well as the average for all U.S. institutions, according to the report.

“With a more than 50 percent increase in these areas in just eight years, URC universities are becoming a force to be reckoned with in developing new technologies and innovations,” said Jeff Mason, URC executive director. “The report demonstrates that Michigan’s leading research institutions fare well in comparison with renowned research clusters including the Research Triangle and Southern California Cluster in the realm of research and development.”

“Top-ranking research universities in our state have a consistent and tangible impact on our state’s economy, investing in jobs, and research and development across the state of Michigan,” said Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan.

The URC also ranked first in the talent composite score, a measurement of total number of degrees conferred and total number of high-tech degrees. The URC conferred 32,563 degrees including 2,186 medical degrees, the highest number of advanced degrees in the medicine and biological science fields of any peer university innovation cluster.

“Employers continually tell us that one of the main factors in site selection for any organization is a strong pool of highly educated individuals,” said M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University. “URC universities play a vital role in molding young talent into the leaders of high-tech, in-demand fields of the future.”

Since 2002, the three URC universities have cultivated 173 start-up companies, including 64 that have formed in the past five years.

“URC members’ world-class research, both on- and off-campus, positions Michigan as a global innovation leader,” President of Michigan State University Lou Anna K. Simon said. “The talent we attract and develop, from undergraduates up to distinguished faculty members, drives our communities and state to a higher level of competitiveness."

The report also includes a breakdown of the URC’s economic impact in 10 regions statewide, including the effect of the additional money URC alumni living in Michigan earn because of their university degrees. As of summer 2014, URC universities had nearly 1.2 million alumni worldwide. More than 600,000 live in Michigan accounting for more than 9 percent of the state’s population over age 24.

The full report is available and can be viewed at

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