Big Mich. Schools Lead In Degrees, Lag In Startups

DETROIT (WLNS/AP) – An alliance of Michigan's three largest universities leads others in the number of degrees it awards but lags in transferring technology out of the classroom and into commercial ventures.

A report released Tuesday finds the University Research Corridor tops the list of seven other major university networks nationwide for the number of degrees, particularly in high technology. But the alliance consisting of University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University places next to last in technology transfer.

The report ranks Michigan's alliance second among university groups in an overall Innovation Power Ranking that includes technology transfer, talent and research. The report says the last two more closely align with universities' core mission, though commercialization is increasingly important.

The URC commissioned the report by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group.

The report showed that URC universities gave 32,483 graduate and undergraduate degrees in 2012, which is more than any other university cluster since 2007. That numbers includes the highest number of medical degrees and the second highest number of high-demand degrees. The URC's research and development spending rose to almost $2.1 billion, up 48 percent over the past 5 years.

According to the report, the URC contributed $16.6 billion in state economic activity in fiscal year 2012.

The three URC universities have cultivated 163 start-up companies. The report states that, “among URC alumni, a 2013 survey indicated that they had started or acquired businesses at double the national average rate among college graduates since 1996 and were 1.5 times as successful as the average U.S. business owner at keeping those start-ups and acquisitions alive in the previous five years.” 

Full report: 7th Annual URC Economic Impact Report

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