Raising awareness for the URC at the Mackinac Policy Conference


I joined my URC colleagues Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan, and Jay Noren, president of Wayne State University, at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island last week to showcase our important and growing University Research Corridor collaboration.

We worked with the Anderson Economic Group to show that while Michigan lost a quarter of its manufacturing jobs in the last 10 years, Michigan’s University Research Corridor partners helped the state become a national life sciences leader, boosting the number of jobs in the life sciences sector by 10.7 percent as average wages jumped 29 percent.

More than 79,062 Michigan residents now work in the state’s life sciences industry, the report found, with the average worker’s salary climbing from $64,602 in 1999 to $83,494 in 2006. The sector grew even faster than the services sector, including education, healthcare, accommodation and food services, which grew 9.5 percent during the same seven-year period.

We were also excited to announce on the Island the URC’s first executive director, Jeff Mason.

Mason currently leads the MEDC’s business development efforts focusing on national and international business attraction, as well as Michigan business expansion and job retention. In 2008, Mason and the MEDC team assisted more than 205 companies like Hemlock Semiconductor, IBM, and United Solar Ovonic in making over $60 billion in private investment creating and retaining more than 100,000 jobs.

As the URC’s executive director, Mason will report to the Presidents Coleman, Noren and me and be based in Lansing near the state Capitol, building on his previous experience to work with state and regional economic development agencies as well as university faculty and administrators, key business and policy leaders.

The University Research Corridor is an alliance of Michigan’s three leading research institutions: Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. Each of us features complete graduate and undergraduate education, as well as professional degrees in medicine, business and the law. Our research laboratories produce hundreds of patents each year, and our hospitals develop innovative medical treatments that save lives.

What is our vision? To unite and lead, playing a key role in creating a vibrant Michigan economy that leverages the intellectual capital of its three public research universities, to work proactively to attract the knowledge economy businesses that can find the research activity that feeds new enterprise, educates the workforce and plants the seeds for the new industries of tomorrow.

The combined experience and know-how of the URC universities are the hope of Michigan’s economy, producing new ideas and bright young minds to lead us all to a better future.


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