URC Report Shows Universities Impact on Michigan Economy

In 2007, Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC), one of the nation’s top academic research clusters and an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, began benchmarking its performance against peer university innovation clusters including Northern California, Southern California, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania.

This year, the 8th Annual Economic Impact & Benchmark Report, prepared by East Lansing, Mich.-based Anderson Economic Group, again compared the URC’s performance to peer university innovation clusters. The report found that Michigan’s economy continues to benefit from the URC universities. The $16.8 billion net impact in Michigan is up from $16.6 billion the previous year and $12.9 billion reported in the first report published in 2007. For every dollar the state invested in the three URC universities, it saw $21 in economic benefits, according to the report.

Strength in research, innovation and talent resulted in the URC ranking second among the nation’s most respected schools in the Innovation Power Ranking for the second year in a row. Only the Southern California Cluster (UCLA, UC-San Diego and USC) ranked higher.

The Innovation Power Ranking developed by AEG for the 2014 report gives an even clearer picture of the URC’s success in areas that help boost Michigan’s economy, from innovative research that gives Michigan businesses an edge to helping students gain the skills they need to compete in high-demand fields.

The URC’s $2.123 billion in R&D expenditures in 2013 marks an increase of 51 percent since the first report in 2007. A rate of increase that far surpassed the average for other university clusters as well as the average for all U.S. institutions, according to the report.

“With a more than 50 percent increase in these areas in just eight years, URC universities are becoming a force to be reckoned with in developing new technologies and innovations,” said URC Executive Director Jeff Mason. “The 8th Annual Economic Impact & Benchmark Report demonstrates that Michigan’s leading research institutions fare well in comparison with renowned research clusters including the Research Triangle and Southern California Cluster in the realm of research and development.”

Since 2002, the three URC universities have cultivated 173 startup companies, including 64 which have formed in the past five years.

The report also includes a breakdown of the URC’s economic impact in 10 regions statewide, including the effect of the additional money URC alumni living in Michigan earn because of their university degrees. As of summer 2014, the URC universities had nearly 1.2 million alums worldwide. More than 600,000 live in Michigan accounting for more than 9 percent of the state’s population over age 24.

You can read the full report here.