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New Program Gives Companies Access to University Expertise

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Michigan Corporate Relations Network
(credit: istock) Technology Report
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EAST LANSING — The ability for businesses to take advantage of the technical expertise and resources within the Michigan Corporate Relations Network partner universities has just gotten easier with the formation of the Instant Innovation Program.

The Instant Innovation program consists of facilitated brainstorming sessions in which companies work with a pre-determined, strategic collection of technical experts from multiple MCRN university partners to investigate a company’s significant technical challenges and to identify potential solutions. The sessions can lead to generation of new ideas and thinking, solve significant and persistent problems, and potentially lead to new, commercial offerings and other revenue or cost reduction opportunities for participating companies.

“The MCRN university partners represent a depth and breadth of technical expertise that is of significant potential value to businesses but can be difficult to engage in a comprehensive manner,” said Mike Finney, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corp.. “The Instant Innovation Program takes all of the guesswork out of the process and ensures that the best talent and resources are assigned from across the network to help develop solutions.”

Following receipt of a company’s application, a MCRN representative will identify a minimum of two technical experts from within the network and develop a budget including a company match to cover program costs. By the end of the program, participants will have created a set of ideas for new research and development initiatives and potential solutions that may be directly incorporated into existing operations or become the basis for follow-on research and development and strategic targeting of potential collaborative funding sources.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact any of the representatives from the MCRN universities to discuss potential programs prior to submitting a session proposal application.  Programs selected for implementation may have a broad impact within the proposing company with potential opportunities across the industrial sector. To learn more about the Instant Innovation program and application process, visit http://michigancrn.org/iip.php.

The MCRN is collaboration among six public universities working to connect businesses with university resources that will help to drive innovation and commercialization — Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Western Michigan University — funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Each member university maintains an office that connects businesses to university resources and faculty that can assist research needs. Beyond the Instant Innovation Program, MCRN provides a variety of resources to Michigan companies that promote innovation and growth.

For more information on Michigan Technological University’s involvement with MCRN, contact Brent Burns at (906) 487-3674 or email bburns@mtu.edu. For more information on MCRN programs, see http://michigancrn.org.

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