LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC) — an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University — announced today that all three institutions are now members of the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS), a consortium of research universities using big administrative data to understand, explain, and improve higher education and research.

The announcement comes on the heels of President Biden signing the landmark CHIPS and Science Act, which received bipartisan support in its passage through Congress. The legislation calls for more than doubling the budget of the National Science Foundation over five years. It would also grow the Office of Science at the Department of Energy by 45% and boost the $850-million-a-year research account at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by 50%.

Set in to this legislation is the requirement that research universities work together on projects to receive funding.

“The URC institutions collaborate with each other and other universities on research that improves lives, communities and industries, and joining IRIS will help us capitalize on new funding opportunities and better measure the impact of our work statewide and nationally,” said URC Executive Director Britany Affolter-Caine.

“As the U.S. seeks to shore up our national security and competitiveness, particularly in the semiconductor area, as authorized in the recently signed CHIPS and Science Act, the URC universities position Michigan to continue to make a significant impact. As one of the nation’s top academic research clusters. The URC conducts $2.8 billion in research and development (R&D) annually, making Michigan a Top 10 state for university R&D, and accounts for 93% of total R&D in Michigan funded by the federal government.”

Affolter-Caine and experts from IRIS presented last week at the Association of Public & Land Grand Universities conference in Detroit. Their presentation highlighted how IRIS data and analysis can help research institutions better explain and quantify their economic and social impact.

“At IRIS, we partner with our member institutions to provide data to explain why everyone — business leaders, elected officials, community leaders, media and voters — should care about the strength of research universities in their area,” said IRIS Executive Director Jason Owen-Smith. “University research contributes significantly to the economic and social health of Michigan and the entire U.S.”

The 2022 URC Economic Impact Report showed that for every dollar that the state has invested in URC institutions, the URC has put back $22 into the state economy. The three URC universities grant nearly 12,000 degrees in high-tech areas annually, as well as nearly 13,000 degrees in high-demand areas such as business, computer science and engineering, and nearly 2,500 medical degrees.

The three URC institutions enroll more than 139,000 students, and URC alumni account for nearly $1 out of every $5 in earnings and income statewide — $48.3 billion in fiscal year 2021. URC alumni also founded new businesses at nearly twice the national rate, contributing to the state’s economic growth.