MSU's new innovation hub elevates research with commercial potential

The Michigan Strategic Fund named Michigan State University as the state's first-ever innovation hub in June. The designation will help MSU elevate the profile of cutting-edge research with commercial potential, and accelerate the creation and transfer of new technologies from research settings to practical real-word applications.  
 
Along with the designation as an “innovation hub,” MSU receives $1 million from MSF and $1.27 million from the university.
 
“As an Innovation Hub, we will now be able to support innovators across the state to advance the AgBio field,” said Richard Chylla, executive director at MSU Technologies in the MSU Innovation Center. “The success of the MSU program and interest from those outside of the university is what helped us achieve this milestone.”
 
The Innovation Hub is part of the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) program, which reinforces the commitment of the MSF and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to entrepreneurship as a catalyst for economic growth.
 
In April, the MSF approved $3.5 million in funding to support the acceleration of technology transfer from Michigan’s institutions of higher education, nonprofit research centers and hospital systems. Supported projects focus on cutting-edge research, competitive edge technology and bioeconomy technologies with commercialization potential based on private sector interest.
 
Before joining the statewide program, MSU's program supported 24 of 62 proposed projects through $12.4 million of funding. Two start-ups, six jobs and three industry licenses resulted from two years of the program, including KOPESS Biomass Solutions in Okemos and CiBO Technologies.

As of June 2016, the MTRAC programs have funded 86 projects, helped develop 13 start-up companies, created 38 jobs, secured $23.8M in follow-on funding, and licensed technology to 8 Michigan companies.
  
“Funding these types of programs really speaks to the wide range of expertise in knowledge, research and ideas across the state,” said MEDC University Relations Director, Denise Graves. “This grant money is doing exactly what it was set up to do by accelerating technology from Michigan’s institutions of higher education, creating jobs, advancing Michigan-based start-ups, facilitating investments to students advancing their fields, and licensing technology to Michigan companies.”

In late July, the University of Michigan announced it will also launch a new statewide MTRAC Life Sciences Innovation Hub to support translational research projects in life sciences with high commercial potential. 
 
Source: Bob Miller, Associate, Lambert-Edwards and Associates
Writer/Editor: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
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