Materials Advancement and Research Solutions (MARS) program, led by the Michigan State University Research Foundation and Michigan State University, aims to leverage research and economic development partnerships to strengthen U.S. economic and national security.
October 23, 2023 – The Michigan State University Research Foundation, Michigan State University, and a consortium of their research partners have been selected for a Tech Hubs Strategy Development Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The EDA Tech Hubs Program is an investment in the future of the United States, created as part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. The program aims to transform select regions into globally competitive innovation centers that strengthen U.S. competitiveness.
“We’re excited to have this Strategy Development Award. It gives us an opportunity to showcase the depth of our technical capacity and the strength of the economic development engine we’ve put into place over the last 10 years,” said David Washburn, Executive Director of the MSU Research Foundation.
The MSU Research Foundation’s proposal titled Materials Advancement and Research Solutions (MARS) Strategy Development Consortium, focuses on transforming the region’s economy based on expertise and competitive advantages in advanced materials science, specifically the manufacturing of specialized synthetic diamonds and rare isotopes. These synergistic advanced materials are driving groundbreaking improvements in semiconductor chips, defense and space electronics, advanced manufacturing, medical imaging, sensing, quantum computing, and other applications essential to U.S. national and economic security, and Michigan State University has deep expertise in this domain.
“The MARS proposal builds on two key areas of strength at Michigan State and will serve as platforms for significant commercial and economic development outcomes,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff. “These areas of strength have overlaps and synergies, both technical and in the industries they will enable. This is great news for Michigan State, the MSU Research Foundation, and our local community!”
The EDA Tech Hubs Program has two phases:
Phase 1: EDA has designated 31 Tech Hubs and awarded approximately $15 million in Strategy Development Grants to accelerate the development of future Tech Hubs.
Phase 2: Tech Hubs Designees are eligible to apply for an implementation award in the range of $50-$75 million.
The Strategy Development Grants are planning awards that amount to approximately $500,000 in funding, allowing the consortium to develop its Phase 2 application should the EDA receive its fully authorized budget from Congress.
The Tech Hubs Programs is designed to drive effective commercialization partnerships by strengthening a region’s capacity to scale manufacturing while creating good jobs for American workers. Success requires a strong ability to bring together public, private, and academic partners into an effective consortium focused on creating opportunity for all.
“The MSU Research Foundation has assembled a great consortium of partners,” said Jeff Smith, Director of Research Parks at the MSU Research Foundation who led the proposal. “In a way this opportunity solidifies what we already know and rallies consortium members around our shared initiatives.”
The MARS program is led by the Michigan State University Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing research and economic development objectives for Michigan State University.
A significant partner to the MSU Research Foundation and Michigan State University is Fraunhofer USA, a private 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of applied research and technology transfer. Working closely with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the world’s largest application-oriented research and development organization (30,000 employees; $3 billion annual revenue), Fraunhofer USA offers both domestic and international resources to enhance its portfolio of research and development services.
“For two decades, MSU and Fraunhofer USA have pioneered a dynamic partnership at the Fraunhofer USA Center Midwest (CMW),” said Thomas Schuelke, Ph.D., President of Fraunhofer USA Inc. “This collaborative effort has yielded remarkable advancements in cutting edge technologies, spanning advanced synthetic diamond materials, thin film coatings, plasma sources, industrial lasers, and additive manufacturing.”
The MARS consortium intends to seek Phase 2 implementation funding to address a key inhibitor to the region’s global competitiveness in synthetic diamond and rare isotopes: the absence of an applied research and commercialization platform that marshals assets and capabilities to help advanced materials companies scale. The vision is to leverage unique expertise and assets to develop a suite of coordinated programs, including corporate innovation, business incubation and acceleration, talent recruitment, and equity-oriented workforce training.
These programs will serve as a force multiplier to transition advanced materials technologies upward in Technology Readiness Levels and build regional and national capacity to commercialize and domestically manufacture advanced materials and the applications that rely on them. The center of these activities will be a newly constructed multi-tenant Hub for Materials Advancement and Research Solutions near MSU’s campus.
About MSU Research Foundation
The Michigan State University Research Foundation (MSU Research Foundation) is a non-profit research foundation formed in April of 1973 focused on technology commercialization and economic development. The MSU Research Foundation manages an endowment built from decades of intellectual property licensing revenue and provides over $10 million in research funding to Michigan State University annually. Along with strong regional economic development partnerships, the MSU Research Foundation operates subsidiary organizations focused on providing entrepreneurial support and programming, pre-seed and early-stage venture funding, and the Foundation holds and develops incubator facilities and select real estate assets important for entrepreneurs and MSU’s corporate relationships.
About Fraunhofer USA
Fraunhofer USA is a private 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of applied research and technology transfer. Founded in 1994, Fraunhofer USA conducts applied R&D for customers from industry, state governments, and the federal government in the United States. Working closely with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the world’s largest application-oriented research and development organization (30,000 employees; $3 billion annual revenue), Fraunhofer USA offers both domestic and international resources to enhance its portfolio of R&D services. Our vast global cooperation network in 80 countries positions us to be a vital part in overcoming regional and global challenges, uncovering potential research areas, and supporting economic development.
This article originally came from the MSU Research Foundation.
About the MSU Innovation Center:
The MSU Innovation Center is dedicated to fostering innovation, research commercialization, and entrepreneurial activities from the research and discovery happening across our campus every day. We act as the primary interface for researchers aiming to see their research applied to solving real-world problems and making the world a better place to live. We aim to empower faculty, researchers, and students within our community of scholars by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to bring their discoveries to the forefront. Through strategic collaborations with the private sector, we aim to amplify the impact of faculty research and drive economic growth while positively impacting society. We foster mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with the private sector through corporate-sponsored research collaborations, technology licensing discussions, and support for faculty entrepreneurs to support the establishment of startup companies.
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