Here's Post No. 4 from Lou Glazer, the president of Ann Arbor-based Michigan Future Inc., a think-tank that is a resource of ideas for how Michigan can and should reshape its economy. Check back daily for more of Glazer's thoughts.
Post No. 3
There are other more predictable ways research universities boost our economy:
Forget spin-offs, research universities themselves are major job
creators. Higher education is one of the fastest growing areas of
long-term, good-paying employment growth. And within higher education,
research universities are the most important because they are
export-based enterprises. Rather than just selling goods and services
to each other, research universities are growing the wealth of the
state/region by bringing $ from across the country. In total Michigan
universities--mainly the three research universities--bring in more
that $1 billion annually of federal funds and employ thousands of
• Higher education’s importance in preparing talent for a knowledge
economy is clear. But it also is one of--if not the--most important
assets in retaining and attracting talent.
Our universities--particularly the research universities--are among the
few enterprises in the state that attract talent from around the world:
students, faculty and researchers. And they are anchors of the kind of
neighborhoods that young talent wants to live in: mixed use, high
density, walkable, culture and entertainment rich. Those kind of
neighborhoods are essential to keeping recent college grads here rather
than Chicago, Seattle, etc. It's no accident that such neighborhoods
are growing around the University of Michigan and Wayne State.
• Knowledge-based employers are increasingly locating where they find
knowledge workers. And that means around research universities. If you
want to attract world-class enterprises like Toyota, Google and Pfizer,
as Ann Arbor has, it helps a lot to be the home of a world-class
And yet, for some reason, even though in the University of Michigan we
have one of the great research universities in the world and in
Michigan State and Wayne State two others that rank in the top 100
nationally, Michigan policy makers have never viewed major research
universities as a key economic resource. This needs to change!