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.
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.
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 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.