MI University Research Corridor helps protect, advance state's water resources

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MACKINAC ISLAND, MI, June 30, 2014 -- A new report reveals that Michigan's University Research Corridor (URC) is playing a significant role in protecting Michigan's water resources as well as the Great Lakes region and is using those resources to promote economic development throughout the state and across the globe.

The three universities that comprise the URC -- Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University -- received nearly $300 million in awards for water-related research and outreach from 2009 to 2013. The 2,100 awards led to innovations in a wide variety of areas, from dealing with invasive species to monitoring water quality and finding ways to optimize water use in agriculture, according to the report, titled "Innovating for the Blue Economy."

In addition to research and development (R&D), the three URC universities each year produce more than 3,400 graduates prepared to analyze and find solutions to water-related issues in academia, government and the private sector, bringing new talent and energy to the field. Nearly 40 percent of those graduates earned advanced degrees, according to the report. The three universities offer 68 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in water-related areas such as engineering, agriculture, public health, natural resources, and business.

The report was prepared by East Lansing, Mich.-based Anderson Economic Group (AEG), which has studied the URC's impact in the auto, information technology, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and alternative energy sectors in previous years. AEG's analysis showed that Michigan ranked fourth in the nation in the percentage of jobs associated with industries related to water, at 718,700.

"One in five Michigan jobs is tied to having good and plentiful water," said AEG founder and CEO Patrick Anderson. "It is an important economic driver in Michigan and extends to Great Lakes shipping, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and fishing, and over 80 other industry subsectors where Michigan workers are employed today."

While most of Michigan's water-related jobs are in water-enabled industries such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, about 138,000 are in core water products and services producing water treatment facilities and solving water quality and quantity issues. Further, while much of the URC's work affects the Great Lakes region, it has a global reach as well. All three universities collaborate with researchers around the state, the country and the world.

Accordingly, URC universities are engaged in research on the major lakes bordering the state and the inland lakes, streams, and wetlands that make up Great Lakes basin, as well as water systems across the United States and around the world.

"The URC is making important contributions to interdisciplinary research, including work being done in the United States and Canada through the Council of Great Lakes Governors, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the International Joint Commission," said University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman. 

See also:

"EPA green infrastructure grant to help improve Lake Michigan water quality"

"EPA calls for best projects for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding"


About Michigan's University Research Corridor

Michigan's University Research Corridor -- an alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University -- is the engine that drives innovation for Michigan and the Great Lakes region, increasing economic prosperity and connecting Michigan to the world. For more information, visit http://urcmich.org.

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