The URC works with a number of partners from across its member universities, the business and nonprofit communities, and government. These partnerships leverage unique assets, resources, and expertise to seed new ideas, creative programs, and innovative research to address challenges and promote greater positive impact.


water treatment plant

Credit: “Petoskey Waste Water Treatment Facility” by Charles Dawley.

The Infrastructure Network for Water, or IN-Water, is a URC collaborative project focused on water infrastructure. It is a pilot to a larger interest in developing a national infrastructure network focused on multiple urban infrastructure systems.

There will be a series of three workshops held in spring 2017 – one at each URC university. The program series is dedicated to looking at how Michigan can create a more effective science-to-practice network around national urban infrastructure. Each workshop will study other successful networks as potential models to further activate an urban water network.



Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center

Launched in August 2016, the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (ADCC) is a statewide center that supports researchers and clinicians from the URC to enhance the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Michigan ADCC is one of nearly 30 NIH-funded Alzheimer’s disease centers across the nation, and the only one that links three major research universities.



URC Environmental Health Funding

In 2011 the University Research Corridor (URC) awarded more than $750,000 for two three-year grants to support collaborative and potentially transformative research in environmental health science. The two award-winning projects, which were competitively selected, each are led by a team of researchers from all three URC universities. The two projects include UCARE Asthma, a project focused on studying the effects of air pollution on asthma in vulnerable subpopulation of Arab Americans, and the Michigan Bloodspot Environmental Epidemiology Project (BLEEP), a re-granting project to seed novel projects utilizing the State of Michigan’s newborn blood spot repository to investigate environmental exposures.

Both projects are completed, and have yielded findings  that have led to academic publications and outside funding for larger project. (Read about the Environmental Influences of Child Health and Outcomes, or ECHO program.) Each project has successfully integrated their URC-supported work with related research, and identified and attracted external funding to enable ongoing research efforts.

UCARE Asthma

The project received nearly $317,000 to study the effects of air pollution on asthma in the Dearborn area Arab American population, specifically young and elderly members.


Michigan Bloodspot Environmental Epidemiology Project (BLEEP)

The $450,000 award from the URC has been distributed to 12 early stage epidemiological research projects through two competitive rounds of funding. Preliminary results from a number of these projects have yielded academic publications and external funding.



Michigan Sea Grant

Michigan Sea Grant is a joint program of U-M and MSU. It is part of the National Sea Grant College Program, a network of 30 university-based programs in coastal states across the country.



Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN)

The Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) began as a collaboration between six of Michigan’s leading research universities: Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. These six schools, which stretch from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the state’s southeast and southwest corners, are responsible for 98 percent of the academic research done in Michigan, 99 percent of all patent activity and the education of more than 160,000 students statewide.



Accelerate Michigan

Accelerate Michigan is a strategic alliance between the URC and Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), a business roundtable executives from the state’s largest job providers and universities, including the three URC universities.




The Higher Education Recruitment Consortiumrb_R&S_Kannan_121509_150

The Michigan Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) provides the largest higher education job board in Michigan. The consortium is designed to make it easier to recruit or retain talented faculty and staff by helping spouses find openings at nearby colleges or universities within the same region, to create networking opportunities and share best practices among member institutions through regular meetings, and to reduce costs through joint purchasing arrangements.




URC institutions partner with Western Michigan to boost number of minorities in math, science

U-M, MSU, Wayne State and Western Michigan joined together in 2006 to launch the Michigan-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, a federal initiative designed to attract and retain under-represented minorities to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The five year, $5 million program is supported by a National Science Foundation grant. The four partner schools hope to increase the number of under-represented minorities earning baccalaureate degrees in STEM areas by 50 percent in five years, and by 100 percent in 10 years.

The alliance universities establish a student ambassadors program; collaborate with other STEM groups such as the American Chemical Society; make it easier to earn dual degrees in STEM areas; develop pre-first year summer transition programs; involve more undergraduate students in research projects; and increase participation in MI-LSAMP internships and residential learning programs.


Making it easier for community college students to obtain bachelor’s degrees

MSU and the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in November launched the Michigan Transfer Network ( to make it easier for community college students to transfer to four-year universities. U-M Flint and Dearborn are part of the effort but U-M Ann Arbor is not yet at part of the effort.

In 2006, U-M was one of eight top universities in the nation to receive Jack Kent Cooke Foundationgrants to increase opportunities for high-achieving low-income community college students to earn bachelor’s degrees from selective four-year institutions. Together, the universities and the foundation will invest $27 million. A team of U-M admissions and financial aid staff made plans to visit the campuses of all 31 Michigan community and tribal colleges.  A program was also called for to expand U-M’s existing Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to give community college students considering transfer an opportunity to do research with U-M faculty.


Economic development organizations

Each of the partners have been leaders in establishing major economic development organizations designed to attract new industries and jobs to their regions.

U-M helped establish Ann Arbor SPARK, an economic development and marketing organization for greater Ann Arbor, in 2005 with the goal to double the number of technology companies and triple technology jobs in the region by 2010, making the greater Ann Arbor region a hub of entrepreneurial energy. For more on Ann Arbor SPARK, visit:

MSU helped establish Prima Civitas in 2006, with a mission to help Michigan reemerge as an economic powerhouse, diversify Mid-Michigan’s economy, and transform the region into one of the most innovative in the world. For more information, visit:

MSU is also an investor and board member of the Lansing Area Economic Partnership (LEAP). To learn more about LEAP, visit:

Wayne State helped establish TechTown, Detroit’s only research and development park, as a community of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, service providers and corporate partners creating an internationally recognized entrepreneurial village. Spanning 12 city blocks, the incubator provides the support and access to capital needed to build high tech companies. For more information, visit:


Research libraries are linked

The research universities libraries have been linked electronically since 1994 through the Michigan Research Libraries Triangle, allowing students, faculty and staff borrowing privileges at any of the three universities. For more on the partnership, visit:


The Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems

The Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems is a partnership between U-M, MSU and Michigan Technological University to develop tiny wireless devices that can serve as anything from sensors monitoring bridge safety or other environmental conditions to next generation medical implants.

“Michigan has a manufacturing base that understands high volume and quality from the factory floor to the Ph.D. level — most places on earth have one but they don’t have both,” notes Joe Giachino, who left an industry job to be part of the Center for Wireless Integrated Microsystems.

The Michigan Space Grant Consortium involves members from the URC institutions as well as regional universities like Saginaw Valley State University. The consortium fosters awareness of, education in, and research on space-related science and technology in Michigan. Its mission is to create, develop, and promote programs that support its vision and reflect NASA strategic interests, and encourage cooperation between academia, industry, state and local government in space-related science and technology.

U-M and Wayne State announced they have joined forces through STIET, a multi-disciplinary research-education program involving corporations like Google, Yahoo and IBM to train the PhDs who will transform the Internet into one that is speedier, more secure and spam-free.

Simultaneously, they are developing new technology to make it easier for the best and brightest minds to collaborate, creating virtual classrooms and laboratories that enable faculty and students to share classes and laboratory assets seamlessly. Key to the effort is Michigan LambdaRail, an ultra high speed fiber optic network developed by the universities.


Hospitals and healthcare

The U-M Health System plans to create 5,623 new full-time jobs bottlesbetween 2007 and 2012, and carry out more than $1 billion worth of new construction, which will create hundreds of temporary construction jobs each year between now and 2012. The projects including a half billion dollar new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital. Wayne State is expanding its medical campus as well and MSU has expanded medical operations into Grand Rapids, Detroit and Macomb County.


National Children’s Study

Researchers from the three research universities are collaborating with Henry Ford Health System andChildren’s Hospital of Michigan as part of the National Children’s Study, a massive federal effort to examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 U.S. children, following them from before birth until age 21.


Traumatic Brain Research

Wayne State University’s Biomedical Engineering Department, proposing to manage a consortium of 14 research institutions including U-M, the Henry Ford Health System, TACOM, several military labs and the VA Medical Center in Detroit, is vying to become a national center for Traumatical Brain Injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Over the last year, traumatic brain injury has become a hot national topic. Last summer, Congress allocated $300 million to fund research into TBI and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In November, the Wayne State Biomedical Engineering Department submitted a $25-million proposal to become the national center of TBI research.

Under the proposal, Wayne State would be the lead institution, managing a consortium of 40 researchers from 14 institutions, including the University of Michigan, Henry Ford Hospital, John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit and several military labs, including TACOM in Warren.


Life Sciences Collaboration Team

The Life Sciences Collaborative Access Team is a partnership between all the Michigan Life Sciences structural biologists including researchers at U-M, Wayne, MSU, and the Van Andel Institute. It is also worked with researchers in other state. For more details, visit:

Another Life Sciences collaboration involves U-M’s Center for Chemical Genomics, David Sherman atU-M’s Life Sciences Institute and Rick Neubig at the U-M Medical School. They are collaborating withWayne State on screens for targets on diabetes/metabolism and infectious disease.


The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research

The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) and the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology have a collaborative center dedicated to improving the health of older African Americans who live in cities.

The Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research, established in 1996, is one of six national resource centers for minority aging research supported by the National Institute on Aging.

The objective of the center is to develop a new generation of scholars in social and behavioral science research, devoted to improving the health of older ethnic and racial minorities. It is led by U-M social psychologist James S. Jackson and Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at WSU.

In addition to education minority scholars to work with an aging population, the grant funds the Healthier Black Elders Center housed at Wayne State. This group organizes a series of yearly community health forums and an annual health reception that attracts thousands of community members every year. The group also recruits older adults from the community as participants in a variety of research projects. The goal is to make a significant difference in the health of all African Americans, by reversing current healthcare inequalities.


The Perinatology Research Branch

In September 2002, after a nationwide competition, a 10-year contract for the Perinatology Research Branch (PRB) was awarded to Wayne State University. The first of its kind, this partnership combines the resources of the National Institutes of Health, WSU, the Detroit Medical Center and a number of other institutions including the University of Michigan. The Perinatology Research Branch conducts clinical and basic research in perinatal medicine and related disciplines with the goal of developing novel diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive strategies to reduce adverse pregnancy outcome, infant mortality and handicap as well as to provide research training for physicians, scientists and other health care professionals whose aim is to improve the health care of mothers and their children.

Detroit was selected to house the PRB because of the expertise in Wayne State University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Detroit Medical Center, the state of Michigan and Wayne State’s willingness to spend millions of dollars renovating space in Hutzel Hospital at no cost to the NIH and access to a large number of pregnant women in an area with a higher-than-average rate of infant mortality.


K-12 education partnerships

URC education faculty, working with other universities across the state, helped develop new standardized tests and curricula that will give the state some of the nation’s highest education standard by 2011. Michigan this year became one of only three states in the nation requiring nearly all-11th graders to take the ACT, which boosted the number of students taking the test by more than 40 percent.

The U-M School of Education’s many Detroit related activities include efforts to put Education students into teaching roles with the Detroit Public Schools as well as the Highly Interactive Classrooms/Curricula/Computing in Education, known as the Hi- Ce program. For more than 10 years, this research group has conducted curricular design experiments and explored facets of science, social studies, and literacy education reform in collaboration with Detroit middle school teachers and administrators. For more details, visit:

More than 2,000 Detroit Public School students each year participate in BioKIDS, the University of Michigan School of Education and Museum of Zoology program that uses technology and hands-on learning methods to help middle school students ask questions the way scientists do.

The National Science Foundation has awarded $11 million in grants for researchers at U-M, MSU,Northwestern University and Project 2061 to take their efforts to reform elementary and middle school science education to the next level. The goal: Maintain U.S. competitiveness by re-tooling science education to keep kids interested in science and improving scientific literacy for all students with some winding up in vital science and technology careers. Building upon past success in Detroit and Chicago, the researchers now are aiming to take their model curriculum to other middle schools across the nation to sites including Washington, D.C. and Tucson, Ariz.

U-M School of Education Professor Ed Silver, who has been spearheading efforts to help displaced Pfizer employees earn education degrees, last fall received a $356,000 grant from Saginaw Valley State University to start a project entitled, “The Michigan Math and Science Partnership Teacher Leadership Network.”



MSU Extension offices and staff are in all 83 counties. Extension faculty on the MSU campus conduct research and translate research results into educational programs. Since its beginning, Michigan Extension has focused on bringing knowledge-based educational programs to the people of the state to improve their lives and communities. County-based staff members, in concert with on-campus faculty members, serve every county with programming focused on agriculture and natural resources; children, youth and families; and community and economic.

AKTL (Advancing Knowledge Transforming Lives) Networks have been created in major geographic areas across Michigan – Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and the Upper Peninsula. These networks bring together faculty and staff who collaborate with community agencies, organizations, schools, public institutions, and businesses. Their purpose is to enhance communication among MSU scholars who do work in the same geographic area and to encourage multidisciplinary work.

Detroit: Both U-M and MSU have established Detroit-based research and outreach efforts for the hundreds of outreach and research projects they have underway in Michigan’s largest cities. Their locations, close to the Wayne State campus, further aid the ability to collaborate.

The U-M School of Public Health runs 15-20 projects through the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center. The school also runs several AmeriCorps projects including one on lead poisoning with the Greater Detroit Area Health Council, one with ACCESS (serving the Arab American population in Detroit and Dearborn), and one with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation. For more information, visit:

Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning. Each year, a team of architecture students and expert guest designers volunteer to put together the Detroit Design Charrette. The assembled teams work to come up with innovative designs and ideas for various areas of Detroit. The program also includes U-M students from disciplines as varied as the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, the U-M Law Schooland the School of Natural Resources and Environment. For more on the Charrette program,

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About the URC
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.
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