LANSING, Mich. – October 24, 2017 – The Michigan Strategic Fund – the oversight board of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) – today approved funding totaling $2.66 million for the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) and Technology Transfer Talent Network (T3N), both of which are administered by the University of Michigan (U-M) and support collaboration with all institutions of higher education in the state. MCRN will receive $1.4 million and T3N will receive $1.26 million for a one-year period to support university research and university industry collaboration.
“Renewed funding of the MCRN and T3N programs represents the value and continued investment placed on spurring Michigan’s economy through the exceptional talent and vast resources available at the university level,” said MEDC university relations director, Denise Graves. “Providing mentors, supporting collaborations among all universities and creating partnerships between Michigan’s companies and university assets have proven incredibly beneficial for Michigan.”
MCRN started in 2011, with the support of MEDC and Michigan Strategic Fund, as a collaboration between six of Michigan’s leading research universities: University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Michigan Technological University, Western Michigan University, and University of Michigan-Dearborn. MCRN now supports collaboration among all institutions of higher education throughout Michigan. Its mission is to help small companies become aware of university resources and identify and secure the resources available to meet those company’s needs. Resources include the Small Company Innovation Program, which provides matching funds of up to $40,000 to small businesses to help cover the cost of conducting a research project at any state of Michigan public university.
MCRN also supports the placement of student interns, with a STEM focus, into small companies by providing matching funds to the company for the internship with the goal of hiring the student on a full-time basis. In 2016, MCRN supported 51 interns, in which over 50% were hired on a full-time basis. The program is on track to support more than 130 student interns for 2017. In 2016, the Small Company Innovation Program provided funds, matched by the companies, for 21 research projects that created 42 patents and three license agreements.
“MCRN has had a tremendous impact on university students and small businesses in the state of Michigan. The collaboration of public universities within the state to support research and talent is one of the most unique programs of its kind in the nation. The University of Michigan is so proud to be a part of this effort,” said Stella Wixom, Executive Director of the Business Engagement Center and Principal Investigator of the MCRN grant.
T3N was created in 2011, also with support from MEDC, to spur the commercialization of university projects with talent programs and resources. Hosted at the University of Michigan, the network serves to share best practices and provide mutual support among lead research universities including: University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Oakland University, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University with growth to support all institutions of higher education in Michigan.
Talent resources include a fellowship program, mentors-in-residence program, university post-doctoral fellowships and a statewide talent resource network. Investment from the state, along with matching funds from participating universities, have developed and retained entrepreneurial talent, provided key support for startups and the commercialization of their products, attracted resources to Michigan universities, and increased the pace of the contributions of Michigan universities to their communities throughout the state. In 2016, the network supported 32 mentors who contributed to 187 projects that have produced 45 patents, 18 startups and over $11 million in follow-on funding.
MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech start-up companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more on MEDC Entrepreneurship & Innovation, visit michiganbusiness.org.
For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit MichiganBusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 98,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.