In April, Michigan Strategic Fund approved $3.5 million in funding to support the acceleration of technology transfer from Michigan’s higher education institutions, nonprofit research centers and hospital systems.
Michigan State University’s Translational Research and Commercialization Program has received $1 million of that funding, matched by $1.27 million from MSU, designating the university as the first “innovation hub” in the state.
MSU MTRAC is housed in the MSU Innovation Center, where technology transfer, start-up support and a portfolio of dedicated business and community partnerships combine to bring ideas to the marketplace.
“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 the university is what helped us achieve this milestone.”
Prior to receiving the hub designation, MSU MTRAC received 62 project proposals, funding 24 of them. The funding has resulted in the creation of two startup projects, six jobs and three licenses to industry after just two years. Additionally, the work done on these projects under MTRAC enabled $12.4 million in additional development funding.
Supported projects focus on cutting-edge agricultural-related research and bioeconomy technologies that have commercialization potential, based on private sector interest. Projects are reviewed and scored by an oversight committee for funding consideration and project mentoring.
As of April, together all MTRAC programs in Michigan funded 79 projects, helped develop 13 start-up companies, created 33 jobs, secured $21.4 million in funding and licensed technology to three Michigan companies.
“Funding these types of programs speaks to the wide range of expertise in knowledge, research and ideas across the state,” said Denise Graves, Michigan Economic Development Corp. university relations director. “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.”
MEDC’s Entrepreneur and Innovation Initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech start-up companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation.