Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Coleman to address innovation, building partnerships at
Mackinac conference

President Mary Sue Coleman will focus on innovation and building relationships with state business and government leaders as she and colleagues converge on this week’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

The four-day conference on Mackinac Island is expected to attract some 1,400 top business, political and policy leaders from across the state. The Detroit Regional Chamber sponsors the conference.

Coleman is a featured speaker at the conference, appearing on a Thursday panel called “Encourage Growth through Innovation.” The session will showcase how Michigan-based businesses have grown their organizations by creatively finding solutions to diversify, while preserving the state’s heritage as the automotive brain center of the world.

The National Academy of Sciences estimates that half of the U.S. economic growth since World War II has been due to technological innovation, with flagship research universities like U-M serving as magnets for research and development, creativity and innovation.

Besides Coleman, the panel also will include David Brandon, former U-M regent and current chief executive officer of Domino’s Pizza; William Parfet, chairman and CEO of MPI Research, a Mattawan-based life sciences firm, and the former president of the Upjohn Co.; and Nancy Schlichting, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System.

Brandon and Parfet are U-M alumni.

Later Thursday Coleman will join her University Research Corridor colleagues, Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon and Wayne State University President Jay Noren. They will release a new URC report on the state of Michigan’s life sciences industry 10 years after approval of the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor legislation, which initially pledged to invest $1 billion over 20 years.

The URC, an alliance of MSU, U-M and WSU, was organized by the URC presidents in late 2006 so the universities could leverage their collective assets and encourage collaboration with business, government and communities to help accelerate innovation and economic growth and to transform, strengthen and diversify the state’s economy.

Together, they conduct more than $1.3 billion worth of research per year — 94 percent of the academic R&D conducted in Michigan.

For more on the conference, go to