U-M biz engagement, tech transfer offices move to NCRC; Venture Accelerator opens

The University of Michigan's Office of Technology Transfer, Business Engagement Center, and its medical school's Business Development group have put their heads together, moving into common office space last fall at the North Campus Research Complex.

The groups held an open house last night to welcome the public to their new quarters and celebrate the opening of the Venture Accelerator, a business incubator also housed in the complex that offers office and lab space and business services to start-ups at the university.

The North Campus Research Complex, located at 1600 Huron Parkway in Ann Arbor, has the medical school business development group on the first floor and the tech transfer office and Business Engagement Center occupying 16,000 square feet – half of the second floor – with the Venture Accelerator eventually growing into the remaining half.

The university is aiming to lease space to up to 12 start-ups in the 16,000-square-foot space designated for the Venture Accelerator. As of press time, one tenant had moved in and four others were in the process of finalizing leases, according to Mark Maynard, manager of marketing and TechStart at UM's tech transfer office.

The common quarters are a visible sign of the importance of collaboration between business and academia as well as strong start-up activity at UM. "It certainly makes it easier now that we're all under one roof for us to build relations and to work with corporate entities..." Maynard explains. "We're already one of the best universities in the country when it comes to commercializing technology and starting companies."

In fiscal 2009, UM spent nearly $1.01 billion on R&D and ranked first among the nation's public universities in that category, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation.

"On average we start nine or 10 companies a year, most of which stay here in the area," Maynard says. "Our hope is that we can do even better now if we can offer some kind of more intensive support services and house people here in the building with us."

Sources: Mark Maynard, manager of marketing and TechStart at UM's tech transfer office; U.S. National Science Foundation
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar

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