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Updated 2:15 PM December 9, 2008




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URC, Dingell honored for economic leadership

Michigan's University Research Corridor and Congressman John Dingell were honored last week for leadership in reinventing the region's economy.

Detroit Renaissance and The Detroit News announced the winners of their inaugural Renaissance Awards Program during a Detroit Economic Club luncheon Dec. 2 at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit.

"These honorees exemplify the collaborative and innovative thinking that is required to move this region forward," said Doug Rothwell, president of Detroit Renaissance. "Congressman Dingell has been a champion for our region advocating for the policies we need to attract business. The URC has created thousands of jobs and helped the region to retain talent."

President Mary Sue Coleman, accepting on behalf of the URC, an alliance of Michigan State University, U-M and Wayne State University, thanked the organizers, adding, "What brought our institutions together two years ago was our belief in the extraordinary potential of this region as a world-class center of innovation, and our commitment to working together to realize that potential."

"As a critical source of the ideas and people that can serve as catalysts for change, our state's universities are an essential driving force toward a better future," Coleman said. "But moving forward, it will take even greater commitments to cooperation among all sectors — academia, industry and government — to foster innovation, to educate and inspire new generations of entrepreneurs, to nurture start-up companies, to strengthen our existing industries and to attract businesses to our region."

The Renaissance Awards are judged on a variety of criteria, but a key factor is innovation. Priority is given to those whose work will create or retain jobs, attract or retain talent, improve the region's economic competitiveness, successfully collaborate through partnerships or advance public advocacy of the region. Extra consideration is also given to significant work in one or more of the six priorities Detroit Renaissance has outlined in its Road to Renaissance plan.

"Creative thinking and innovative ideas will be the key to this region's comeback," said Detroit News Editor and Publisher Jonathan Wolman. "We are pleased to be part of a program that honors leaders in innovation."

Last year, the URC universities generated $1.38 billion dollars in research, generated more than 69,000 jobs, educated 136,000 students, and created a net economic impact of $13.3 billion in the state of Michigan.

The goals of the alliance are to align the three institutions' collective resources to accelerate economic development, put a spotlight on the state's powerful R&D assets, and encourage a greater level of collaboration among the institutions and the business sector to become a major catalyst for economic growth.

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