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Michigan Impact

2014 fall Issue

Dr. Mark Schlissel, President

Dear Friends,

Meeting so many members of the University of Michigan community during my first few months has given me the opportunity to learn about the remarkable contributions they are making to our state. Several events with alumni have been wonderful opportunities to hear their uniquely Michigan stories.

I have met business owners who are hiring workers and helping to lead Michigan’s economic recovery, elected leaders who are making our state’s cities and towns great places to live, and students who dream of using their U-M degrees to make a difference in their home communities. I have also spoken with researchers who have invented new products and launched startup companies through work that began right here on our campus. And I have seen first-hand the remarkable health care that is a hallmark of our Health System.

These moments are at the heart of the amazing impact of our university. Supported by a research budget that is the largest of any public university, our world-class professors, innovative graduates and nearly 60,000 students help people live better lives, through health, social equity and economic progress.

Part of my job will be to further strengthen that work, and in the coming months I plan to share more updates of our achievements in Michigan Impact. I want U-M to be known for research that stimulates economic growth, for creative works that enrich our culture, and for experiential learning that connects students to communities.

Thank you for making me feel so welcome, and I appreciate your support of our university and our students.

Dr. Mark Schlissel
Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D.

A record-breaking year for U-M Tech Transfer

Fiscal year 2014 was a record-breaking year of tech transfer performance at U-M as reflected in the number of new inventions, agreements and startups launched—all derived from U-M research discoveries.

Researchers reported 439 new inventions in FY 2014, up from last year's 421.

U-M Tech Transfer also recorded 148 option and license agreements compared to 108 agreements a year ago. In addition, U-M Tech Transfer launched 14 startups, bringing the number of businesses launched in the last five years to 55.

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U-M connected and automated vehicle initiative announces founding corporate partners

A diverse group of companies will be the founding partners in U-M’s Mobility Transformation Center, a major public-private initiative that aims to revolutionize the movement of people and goods in society.

Spanning such sectors as auto manufacturing, suppliers, intelligent transport systems, insurance, telecommunications, data management and mobility services, the MTC's Leadership Circle will join with government and academic partners to lay the foundation for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles.

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Rising number of Michigan communities reporting positive fiscal outlook in 2014

For the first time in six years, more Michigan communities report they are better able to meet their fiscal needs this year than those who say they are less able to do so.

A University of Michigan survey polled top elected and appointed officials in the state's 1,856 units of government and found that 2014 marked a tipping point for them with 36 percent better able to meet financial needs and 24 percent less able to do so.

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U-M Water Center awarded $20M federal contract to help lead national estuary research program

The U-M Water Center has been awarded a five-year, $20-million cooperative-agreement contract to join the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in overseeing research at a nationwide network of 28 coastal reserves.

Less than two years after it was launched, the U-M Water Center is extending its reach beyond the Upper Midwest to help coordinate, with NOAA, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System's collaborative science program.

The NERRS Science Collaborative supports water-quality monitoring and long-term research on the impacts of land-use change, pollution and habitat degradation in the context of climate change trends. The overarching goal is improved stewardship of these economically significant estuaries.

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U-M and GM offer customized master's programs to GM employees

General Motors and U-M’s Division of Integrative Systems + Design (ISD) in the College of Engineering have forged a partnership to design and deliver customized master's level technical education programs that match these new business realities.

Qualified GM employees worldwide can take advantage of these unique academic programs that stress practicality and flexibility while encouraging innovation, leadership and global teamwork.

“These customized degree programs illustrate how university-corporate collaborations can reach beyond the traditional customer-suppliermodel,” says Ed Borbely, ISD director. “They point the way toward a new future in which universities and companies collaborate to improve engineering education for professional practice in today’s complex, demanding environments."

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Proximity to Great Lakes a key factor in local officials' views

Holding about 20 percent of the world's freshwater, the Great Lakes in many ways help define Michigan and play a large role in the state's history, economy, land use, climate, transportation systems and more.

Responding to recent calls for cultivating a "blue economy" in Michigan would significantly promote the role of the lakes in the state's economic policy, say experts in U-M's For School of Public Policy. But while nearly all of Michigan's local leaders see the Great Lakes as a valuable economic resource for the state, some don't see it that way for their own jurisdictions, according to a survey by the Ford School.

"These economic ties to the lakes are felt more acutely in coastal jurisdictions compared to jurisdictions farther inland," said Tom Ivacko, administrator and program manager for the U-M Ford School's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy.

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U-M launches Desai Family Accelerator

The Desai Family Accelerator, a joint venture of the U-M’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering (COE), is dedicated to helping Michigan startups gain ground.

Launched in August, the accelerator will provide the physical infrastructure, financial resources and mentorship to support early-stage ventures through the critical point of seeking external investors.

The addition of the accelerator will expand on the entrepreneurial programs and courses offered at Ross and COE. Both programs favor action-based learning, with an emphasis on business plan competitions, grants, seminars and the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program.

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