LANSING, Mich. – May 22, 2018 – The University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, today announced the appointment of Britany Affolter-Caine as executive director. Affolter-Caine will oversee all strategic and operational aspects of the URC, one of the nation’s most accomplished and respected academic research clusters.
Affolter-Caine has been with the URC for nearly six years, serving as interim director since July 2017 and as program manager since August 2012. Prior to joining the URC, Affolter-Caine was director of talent enhancement for Ann Arbor SPARK, a regional economic development organization. She has also held positions at the Detroit Chamber of Commerce and the Brookings Institution. She replaces founding URC chief Jeff Mason, who is now CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
“We are very pleased to name such a highly-qualified candidate to this critical position as we conclude our national search,” University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said. “Britany is a very talented, insightful and experienced leader who possesses a clear and ambitious vision for the URC’s future. Michigan’s research institutions play a critical role locally, regionally and globally, and I know Britany will do an outstanding job telling our story and building our profile in the years ahead.”
Affolter-Caine holds a doctorate in higher education policy from the University of Michigan. She also earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Wright State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wittenberg University. She serves on the board of the Ann Arbor Arts Alliance and the consultative panel for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center for Regional Economic Innovation.
“Britany has a demonstrated commitment to the URC and its institutions, and we are fortunate to now have her setting the course for the organization,” said M. Roy Wilson, president of Wayne State University. “She is a true asset to our research and education communities and to our state.”
“Our research universities are critical assets for the state and for our nation,” said John Engler, interim president of Michigan State University. “The URC helps highlight our record of innovation and collaboration to support the state of Michigan’s reputation as a globally competitive place to live, learn and build an enterprise. Britany is uniquely suited to build on the URC’s achievements.”
“It’s exciting, and humbling, to be selected to lead Michigan’s University Research Corridor,” Affolter-Caine said. “I welcome the challenge of building on the success of my predecessor and our university leaders, the continued opportunity to work with colleagues across our three great institutions and the chance to extend our relationships with government, industry and nonprofit partners.”
The URC was formed in 2007 to contribute to a more vibrant Michigan economy by leveraging the intellectual capital of its three major research universities, including their educational excellence, their world-competitive research and graduate studies and their contributions to citizens’ health and quality of life.
The University Research Corridor showcases Michigan’s world class universities, economic competitiveness, and scientific breakthroughs being made every day in our state. This innovative partnership is creating jobs, fostering relationships with all types of businesses, from our largest corporations to smallest entrepreneurial businesses, and driving innovation in all sectors of our economy.
I think certainly there has been an uptick in entrepreneurship in the state, and I think a lot of that is owed to the URC getting more involved in economic development in the last 10 years.
The URC is an incredible asset for our industry, state, and citizens in terms of the scale of R&D conducted at its universities in critically important areas. Medical and healthcare discoveries with the potential to improve and save lives position Michigan as a top state for innovation in the life, medical and health sciences.