About the URC

What is the University Research Corridor?

The University Research Corridor is an alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University to transform, strengthen and diversify the state’s economy.

Research Corridor universities spark regional economic development via invention, innovation and technology transfer, by educating a work force prepared for the knowledge economy, and by attracting smart and talented people to our state. We are committed to the state’s success and committed to creating a Michigan that sustains a high quality of life.

The University Research Corridor partners have formed this alliance to improve understanding of the vital role the three universities have played, and will play, in revitalizing the state’s economy. The collaborative effort will disseminate useful information for key stakeholders, including the business community, researchers and students, policymakers and other investors. In doing so, the universities hope to enhance our outreach and collaborative efforts, speed up technology transfer and development, and communicate the advantages of doing business here.

In 1999, our three universities helped establish a Life Sciences Corridor to be on the ground floor of developing a new industry. Now we are building on that success, taking it to a higher level with expanded collaborations in a host of disciplines to better connect our universities with the public we serve.

In an era of global competition and severe economic challenges, research universities serve as economic engines offering Michigan and the United States strategic advantages through sophisticated science, technology, math and engineering education.

Our three institutions together draw $1.878 billion in federal academic research dollars to Michigan, 94 percent of the total coming into the state. Over the past five years, we have announced an average of one new invention every day, and collectively these discoveries have led to more than 500 license agreements for new technologies and systems. Detroit News columnist Dan Howes once wrote our three universities together offer “the closest thing Michigan has to Silicon Valley—an intellectual powerhouse.”

The URC had 137,583 students enrolled in the fall of 2010. The students at the URC universities are drawn from throughout Michigan and around the world. Students from the state of Michigan accounted for 75% of total enrollment in the fall of 2009, while 15% came from elsewhere in the U.S. and the remaining 10% came from other countries.  

The URC universities collectively spent almost $7.7 billion on operations in FY2009. The $7.7 billion was used to pay the salaries of 50,531 full-time-equivalent staff and faculty, purchase supplies and equipment, and maintain buildings and equipment. This figure—$7.7 billion—is about 2% of all economic activity in the state, as measured by Michigan’s gross state product.  When combined with student expenditures and incremental alumni earnings, the URC net economic impact in Michigan equals $15.2 billion.

In 2009, there were 573,621 known alums of a URC university living in Michigan, making up 7.6% of Michigan’s population over the age of 18 years. These alums earned an estimated $28.6 billion in salary and wages in 2010, or 16.4% of all wage and salary income in Michigan.

That is the power of a “brain gain,” a prime example of research as a magnet for economic development. When we unify, bringing together business, universities and government with a shared goal, anything is possible.

Stories on the University Research Corridor

About our Universities

Michigan State University

Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. It offers more than 200 programs of study in 14 degree-granting colleges and an affiliated law college. Many of MSU’s programs are nationally ranked.

In addition to its 5,200-acre campus in East Lansing, MSU operates 15,000 acres throughout Michigan for agricultural, animal and forestry research.

Students from all 83 counties in Michigan, all 50 states in the United States and about 125 other countries who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving are attracted to MSU.

Discover more on the MSU websites > >  www.msu.edu / www.msu.edu/about/thisismsu/facts.html

University of Michigan

Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan has stood as the national model for the large public university for more than a century. With more than $1 billion in sponsored research each year, U-M is one of the nation's largest research universities.

More than 58,000 students on three U-M campuses (Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint) come from every state and 129 countries. The Ann Arbor campus, with more than 41,000 students, offers 6,500 courses each year. Students can choose from more than 225 undergraduate majors and 600 degree programs offered by its 19 schools and colleges.

Since 1845, the University has granted more than 727,000 degrees. With more than 526,000 living degree holders, U-M has one of the nation’s largest alumni bodies.

Discover more on the U-M website > > www.umich.edu

Wayne State University

Established in 1868, Wayne State University offers more than 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 11 world-class schools and colleges to 33,000 students. As Michigan’s only urban national research university, Wayne State is committed to its urban mission through teaching, research and service. WSU meets the needs of a niche, providing access to a high-caliber education at a relatively low cost. Its research expenditures place it among the nation’s top 50 public universities.

Wayne State has Michigan’s most diverse college campus, with one- third of its student body identifying as minorities, and scholars and students from 100 countries. With more than 1,000 students, the School of Medicine is the largest single-campus medical school in the country.

WSU is vibrant and growing, having opened three new residence halls and six other buildings since 2000, including a multi-story recreation and fitness center and a college of pharmacy and health sciences. In addition, the university serves students through its six southeast Michigan satellite campuses, some of which offer courses six days a week, nights and weekends.

Discover more on the WSU website > >  www.wayne.edu