University Research Corridor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The University Research Corridor (URC) is a research consortium founded by the three leading universities in the state of Michigan. In November 2006, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan enhanced their existing partnerships by establishing the URC. The alliance was formed to leverage their collective capabilities and drive the transformation of the state's economy. In aggregate, these universities bring in nearly $1.4 billion of federal research dollars each year.[1]

MSU President Dr. Lou Anna Simon on the importance of the URC, "Michigan's three internationally recognized research institutions are essential to creating the intellectual capital and the technology breakthroughs that will make our state competitive. The URC generates innovations, new technologies, and new businesses that not only provide jobs, but also improve life for all citizens of Michigan."[2]

Each of the three schools is classified as a Research Intensive University (Very High research activity), or RU/VH, by the Carnegie Foundation.[3] These institutions initially united in the 1999 state-directed establishment of the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor.[4] Since the launch of the program, over 120 new companies in the Michigan life sciences industry have been created.[5]


The URC institutions are all based in the southeast/south-central area of the Michigan's lower peninsula. Wayne State University is located in the heart of the state's largest city — Detroit — in the Midtown Cultural Center. With a student population of over 33K, the university is anchoring the rebirth of the surrounding area. Michigan State University is located four miles east of the Michigan State Capitol, in East Lansing. The third university in the URC — the University of Michigan — is located 40 miles west of Detroit in Ann Arbor.


  • The corridor is served by the three major Interstate Highways in Southeastern Michigan—Interstate 75 (I-75, I-94, and I-96. Further enabling the close collaboration between these institutions, each school is under a two-hour drive of its URC peers.
  • The main airport of the region—among the top 20 largest airports in the world—is the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).[6] Both Wayne State University and The University of Michigan are roughly a half-hour drive from the Romulus-based airport. However when traveling to East Lansing, the Capital Region International Airport is the most convenient—just a 20-minute commute to the MSU campus.
Travel Time via DTW
Ann Arbor (U of M) 27 minutes
Detroit (WSU) 23 minutes
East Lansing (MSU) 1.3 hours

Peer comparison[edit]

Compared to other significant research clusters across the nation, the URC has similar outputs in terms of federal research dollars, invention disclosures, and patents. Other peer university clusters include those in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and California. Each of these groups includes three in-state research institutions which are well known for their R&D endeavors. In terms of human capital, the URC universities currently employ 49 thousand people and educate 135 thousand students.[7] The student population of the URC campuses is the largest of any comparable research cluster. The collective living URC alumni in the state of Michigan total more than 550 thousand people.[8]

Ongoing emphasis[edit]

Community Engagement

  • The leaders from each of the three institution meet regularly to discuss progress and often organize jointly sponsored speaker forums. Three-time Pulitzer prize-winning, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently spoke at a URC event focused on the global economy and sustainable energy.

Economic Stimulus

  • An economic report detailing the collective successes of the URC universities as well as a metric comparison to their peer clusters is released annually each fall.


External links[edit]