The Office of Research at the University of Michigan tracks not only the scientific contributions and the dollars and cents of research but also the economic impact of its work on the state. Focusing on the three largest universities in the state (University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University), a recent newsletter article highlighted the research dollars awarded to investigators as well as the jobs generated by those universities. Using IRIS UMETRICS data to zero in on the University of Michigan’s research spending, the piece noted that U-M spent $262 million from sponsored projects in 2017 to purchase goods and services in support of research, with more than 50% of those purchases being made from in-state vendors. Such purchases support jobs and contribute meaningfully to the state’s economy and its communities.

One such contribution taken from IRIS UMETRICS data was highlighted in the newsletter, a story of a manufacturer of pediatric treadmills used by U-M researchers who study the mobility patterns of children with Down Syndrome. Professor Dale Ulrich, professor of movement science and health fitness at U-M, indicated that treadmill work with these children can enhance their ability to walk and thus advance their “cognitive, social, emotional and physical development because they can explore their environment and learn.” The treadmill manufacturer, based in Sturgis, MI, was able to expand his company as a result of the grant funds used to purchase the treadmills.

In the piece, IRIS executive director Jason Owen-Smith emphasized that research grants allow investigators to hire staff and make purchases to get the work done, pumping money into the economy and supporting jobs across the state. Ultimately, Owen-Smith said, “it makes Michigan more resilient.”

Helping universities tell their stories creatively is what IRIS is all about. IRIS UMETRICS data can be utilized to highlight important contributions to a member institution’s home state economy. Please reach out to us to share your stories about the ways in which you have used IRIS UMETRICS data – we would like to relay such use cases to our membership to help institutions maximize the value of their IRIS investment.

To read the full text of the piece, “Beyond the Breakthroughs,” click