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Nearly $1 billion generated in Detroit by Michigan's research universities

June 2, 2016

The University Research Corridor (URC) already holds 93 percent of the academic research and development (R&D) funding in the state. At more than $2 billion, that R&D has increased 50 percent in the past decade, with the reach stretching across Michigan. But the three universities also are continually increasing their efforts in Detroit, prompting the attempt to quantify what they mean to the city. Participants in the URC are: Wayne State University, led by President M. Roy Wilson; University of Michigan, led by President Mark Schlissel and Michigan State University, led by President Lou Anna K. Simon.

The study shows: The URC contributed about 11,600 jobs in Detroit, or 1 in 20, that includes direct, indirect and induced employment. Wayne State is the 7th largest employer in the city. The net economic impact from the URC is $958 million, that includes $140 million from students and about $204 million from alumni living in the city. Total Detroit research spending of $263 million. There are at least 300 initiatives in Detroit including 73 community-building programs, 66 public health programs, and 41 community service programs. Billions in investment is pouring into the city, most notably the 7.2 miles in downtown. Another element of the URC's influence on changes in the city is significant new construction on Wayne State's campus. Notable for Midtown's growth are the three dormitories built since 2002 that are prompting WSU's shift from a commuter school to a 24-hour campus. Even Wayne State's police department, which uses a data-drive approach to fighting crime, is influential in economic development, according to the URC report.