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Updated 10:00 AM October 15, 2007




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URC presidents to outline actions to aid state's economy

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The University Research Corridor presidents today planned to describe their vision for stimulating technology transfer, business development and increased partnerships by announcing several new initiatives to help invigorate Michigan's economy.

President Mary Sue Coleman, outgoing Wayne State University President Irvin Reid and Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon are expected to outline their latest efforts to spur Michigan's growing knowledge-based economy at a URC conference that will draw leaders from across the nation.

"The University Research Corridor is still a fledgling organization, but we are leveraging our assets across the state to accelerate economic growth," Coleman says. "Today, less than a year after the URC was formed, we're reporting on efforts that showcase the work of research universities in revitalizing Michigan's economy.''

The conference, "The Role of Engaged Universities in Economic Transformation" is aimed at addressing the major competitiveness issues raised in the landmark National Academy of Sciences report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future."

Among the action plans:

• Business development. In the wake of Pfizer's plans to reduce its Michigan presence, the universities moved quickly to retain research jobs and find new uses for desirable laboratory space.

• Leveraging assets and technology. U-M and Wayne State announced they have joined forces through STIET, a multi-disciplinary research-education program involving corporations like Google, Yahoo and IBM to train the Ph.D.s who will transform the Internet into one that is speedier, more secure and spam-free.

• Exploiting new opportunities. All three universities are working to greatly expand research related to a highly promising industry: alternative energy.

Building upon a promise to increase partnerships, the URC has recently announced a number of outreach efforts across the state including:

• Working with 20 other Michigan colleges and universities to establish the Michigan Higher Education Recruitment Consortium to attract and retain talent in the state

• Partnering with community hospitals in the landmark National Children's Study.

• Establishing offices for U-M and MSU Detroit-based research and outreach efforts. Their locations, close to the Wayne State campus, further aid the ability to collaborate.

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