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MI University Research Corridor Leads in Talent Production, According to Report

January 23, 2014

Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance between the state’s three largest higher education institutions, leads its peer clusters in generating high-tech talent and ranks second overall in innovation activity, according to a report commissioned by URC. The corridor, which includes Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University, outperforms peer university clusters in Northern California, North Carolina’s Research Triangle region and Massachusetts’ Route 128 Corridor, ranking second only to the universities of Southern California.

Among the report’s findings, the Michigan URC conferred 32,483 graduate and undergraduate degrees, higher than any of its peer universities clusters in 2012. Michigan’s URC also topped the list in medical degrees and ranked second in high-demand degrees.

Researchers estimate that the URC contributed about $16.6 billion to the state economy in FY12. This estimate includes faculty and staff wages, university operating expenditures, student expenditures and alumni earnings. URC activity boosted the state’s tax revenue by about $449 million and led to the launch of 14 university-based startups in FY12. Over the past five years, URC has helped launch a total of 71 startups. The corridor also supported an estimated 66,000 jobs statewide in FY12.

The report, Empowering Michigan: Seventh Annual Economic Impact Report of Michigan’s University Research Corridor, uses a variety of indicators to simplify corridor activity into three innovation indices. Each of the peer clusters are assigned scores for these indices, which include research and development spending, technology transfer activity and talent generation. The peer clusters are assigned a composite score and then ranked according to their performance.

Peer clusters chosen for the report each include at least three major research campuses:

  • Northern California (University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University);
  • Southern California (University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; University of Southern California);
  • Illinois (University of Chicago; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Northwestern University);
  • Massachusetts (Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Boston University);
  • North Carolina (Duke University; University of North Carolina; North Carolina State University);
  • Pennsylvania (Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University); and,
  • Texas (University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Rice University).

In addition to surpassing all of these peer clusters in talent generation, the Michigan URC ranked second in overall innovation activity. Michigan’s corridor was only surpassed in overall performance by the Southern California cluster. URC’s high placement in the overall rankings was mostly driven by its high talent score. The region ranked near the middle of the pack in research spending and toward the bottom in technology transfer.

Download the report…

Michiganhigher ed, workforce