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State's research institutions broaden impact

February 17, 2013

Michigan's big three research universities grew their combined economic impact to more than $15.5 billion annually by 2011, while maintaining their standing among peers as one of the top research clusters in the nation. The annual report from the University Research Corridor - a collaboration between Wayne State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan - also shows the three exceeded $2 billion in annual research and development spending for the first time. Moreover, the universities increased the number of startup companies cultivated from university research. R&D funding grew 46.0 percent in five years, or by $631 million, and by 6.6 percent from 2010 to 2011. Across the URC and the research clusters with which it's compared, for example, R&D spending grew 6.1 percent from 2010 to 2011 to $61.18 billion from $58.33 billion. In 2011, 8,937 of the 31,683 undergraduate and graduate degrees granted by URC members were in the three high-demand professions. That compares with 8,760 of 31,242 degrees granted in 2010. The $15.5 billion in economic impact that URC members generated in 2011 represents a 20-percent increase from the $12.9 billion in 2007 and equates to a more than 17-to-1 return on investment for the $860 million the state spent to support the three.