Pfizer Action Teams 

When Pfizer announced it would be cutting 2,400 Michigan jobs, the three URC universities partnered with community, government and business leaders to organize rapid response action teams to retain the talented Pfizer work force in the state and to help find new uses for Pfizer’s 177 acre Ann Arbor campus. U-M President Mary Sue Coleman also announced the investment of $3 million to create new faculty positions to hire talented Pfizer workers.

U-M and Ann Arbor SPARK announced in October 2007 they have transformed Pfizer’s former Traverwood facility into a wet lab incubator and are already filling the facility with four startup company tenants and other researchers. MSU has similar plans for a larger former Pfizer facility in Holland. In December 2008, U-M reached a deal to purchase the rest of Pfizer’s Ann Arbor campus to turn it into a new research campus, creating 2,000 new jobs. The deal is expected to close in June 2009.

SPARK is establishing two additional office incubators in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Altogether, SPARK is working with 31 startup businesses that have or plan to move into one of their three business accelerators.


Saving 4,100 TACOM jobs, creating more than 1,000 new jobs

In 2005, the federal base closure commission debated whether to close the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, home of TACOM and more than 4,100 jobs. The URC universities plus many other in-state universities each have research projects working with federal and private industry researchers. They joined with private and public officials in making the case for the value of keeping TACOM Instead of cutting jobs, the base closure commission voted to save those 4,100 jobs and move more than 1,000 jobs from other states to Michigan, citing the “critical mass” of research expertise from universities and private industry.


Tech Partners

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

Socio-Technical Infrastructure for Electronic Transactions – 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.


Economic Engagement Programs 

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.

Begun in 2011 with support from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Strategic Fund Board (MSF), MCRN is the first statewide network in the country to provide a coordinated university outreach effort to encourage business growth and attraction. Offering comprehensive Business Engagement Offices and a web-based Experts Portal for companies and entrepreneurs, MCRN also has three programs aimed at helping small and mid-sized companies: the Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP), Small Company Internship Award (SCIA), and, for larger firms, the Instant Innovation Program.