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The URC's Support for Information and Communication Technology in Michigan

The University Research Corridor (URC) is an alliance of Michigan’s three largest academic institutions: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. The purpose of this alliance is to accelerate economic growth in Michigan by educating students, attracting talented workers, supporting innovation, and facilitating the transfer of technology to the private sector.

This report is part of a series of special topic reports that began in 2007 and are released by the URC in early summer of each year. The purpose of each report is to highlight the URC’s contributions to a specific industry important to Michigan’s economy. This year’s report focuses on how the URC is shaping Michigan’s Information and Communication Technology industry (ICT) through its educational programs, research, and support for entrepreneurs.

We begin this report by developing a rigorous, comprehensive definition of the information and communication technology industry. This industry consists of the study, design, development, implementation, and management of information systems. It focuses on communication technologies, including the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and computer-based information systems.

Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) Economic Impact Michigan State University, U.S. Department of Energy

On December 11, 2008 the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) announced that Michigan State University was awarded a $55 million grant to build a Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). MSU’s most notable competition for the facility was the Argonne National Laboratory, located near Chicago, Illinois.

Preliminary Report: Alternative Energy Research and Development in the URC

A preliminary report released in May by Anderson Economic Group found that Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University, makes significant contributions to the state’s economy.


In its report, AEG found that the URC spent $6.5 billion on operations in fiscal year 2006. This figure—$6.5 billion–is about 2% of all economic activity in Michigan, as measured by Michigan’s gross state product. Most operational spending went towards teaching, research, and University of Michigan’s Hospital.


Furthermore, AEG estimated that currently over 617,000 alumni of a URC institution live in Michigan. There is at least one URC alumni living in every Michigan county. URC alumni living in Michigan earned an estimated $24.3 billion in 2006, making up 13% of all wage and salary income in Michigan.


The AEG report also compared how research and tech transfer activities at Michigan’s URC compare with other well-known university clusters in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Peer university clusters include Harvard, MIT, and Tufts in Massachusetts; Duke, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State in North Carolina; and Penn State, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.