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Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC), an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University, released a new series of analyses from IRIS that highlight the significant economic impact and employment opportunities resulting from research conducted by URC universities, as well as their contributions to various sectors and communities within the state and across the nation.

On average from 2019 to 2022, URC universities employed 27,405 people each year on federal and non-federal research grants — 42% of these individuals were students and 17% were faculty. In 2022, the majority of those employed — 24,058 people — were working on federally funded research grants.

More than one-third of employees on sponsored research projects at URC universities between 2018 and 2022 found work in the state of Michigan after leaving the university, earning an average of $69,700 per year in industries such as education, health care and information technology.

URC universities’ federal and non-federal research generated over $1.1 billion in spending on research-related goods and services in Michigan during FY 2019 – 2022. Purchases from vendors in Wayne County exceeded $436.1 million, making it the top-ranking county in the state.

URC universities spent $3.13 billion in federal and non-federal research funding with 10,716 vendors and subcontractors across the U.S. between 2017 and 2021. Approximately $51.3 million was spent with 1,256 small businesses, and $53.5 million was spent with 1,069 minority- and women-owned businesses.

“These numbers tell the story of how URC universities’ research activities are contributing to job creation and spending in the state and national economy,” said URC Executive Director Britany Affolter-Caine. “In addition to technological discoveries that lead to greater competitiveness of our industries improvements to residents’ lives, URC research activities directly employ individuals, stimulate demand for goods and services, facilitate industry partnerships, develop advanced talent who launch careers in the state, and leverage federal funding to drive economic growth and innovation.”

“IRIS partners with local and national member institutions to show exactly how we all benefit from having strong, innovative research university neighbors,” said IRIS Executive Director Jason Owen-Smith. “Their knowledge work helps make Michigan more prosperous, vibrant, and healthy for businesses, communities, and the people who work and live in them today and into the future.

The 2022 URC Economic Impact Report showed that for every dollar that the state has invested in URC institutions, the URC has put back $22 into the state economy through not only research, but also its education and innovation activities, jobs created and in-state spending of students and resident alumni. The three URC universities conduct $2.64 billion in research and development, much in areas of critical importance to Michigan residents and key industries.

The three URC institutions enroll 155,000 students, grant nearly 13,000 degrees in high-tech areas annually, as well as nearly 13,500 degrees in high-demand areas such as business, computer science and engineering, and more than 2,500 medical degrees. And URC alumni account for nearly $1 out of every $5 in earnings and income statewide — $48.3 billion in fiscal year 2021.

Supporting documents:
Congressional District Fact Sheet [PDF]
State Legislative Fact Sheet [PDF]
Spending Report 2024 [PDF]
Vendor Profile Report [PDF]