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New Expertise Portal Quickly Connects Businesses With Top Michigan Universities

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LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan’s leading research universities and Elsevier have developed a free online tool enabling companies in Michigan and around the globe to tap into the expertise of the universities’ faculty researchers, high-tech facilities and other academic resources responsible for $2 billion in annual research.

The Expertise and Resource Portal is an online searchable database developed and maintained by the Michigan Corporate Relations Network, a unique collaboration of six research universities and Michigan’s University Research Corridor. It was released Thursday.

The portal, based on Elsevier’s SciVal Experts, showcases Michigan’s leading research experts and facilities and was funded by a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The portal provides an easy way for companies to find experts who can help them develop new products or deal with technical challenges.

“Using the portal can save companies valuable time in their efforts to tap the extensive expertise available at Michigan’s top research universities,” said Charley Hasemann, executive director of Michigan State University’s Business-Connect office. “These six MCRN universities provide an incredible amount of university-to-business resources.”

By using the portal, businesses gain access to nationally recognized research universities, including Michigan State University in East Lansing, University of Michigan campuses in Ann Arbor and Dearborn and Wayne State University in Detroit. Users can search a database of 6,632 researchers and 103 core research facilities that have produced more than 290,000 publications and received nearly 30,000 research grants.

Once faculty and facilities from Michigan Technological University in Houghton and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo are integrated, the database will encompass 99 percent of all research and patent activity at Michigan universities. Searches can be based on a concept, a researcher’s name or a published abstract.

Said Nick Fowler, managing director for academic and government institutions at Elsevier: “University research can help drive economic growth. Knowledge-sharing between universities and industry can also result in valuable innovations for society. Elsevier is proud to be supporting the Michigan Corporate Relations Network with its mission to drive economic growth and innovation.”

The portal’s search tools will guide users to the university business engagement office that can connect them to the appropriate university resources. Businesses can count on being contacted by a business engagement office within five working days after conducting a search.

“By using this portal, companies can get assistance with advancing a new product or process, or in finding a solution to a particular challenge – all without having to guess at which researcher or facility is the best one to contact,” said Daryl Weinert, associate vice president and the University of Michigan Office of Research and Sponsored Projects in Ann Arbor. “We know companies need timely answers to remain competitive, and we can make sure they are connected to the right university resources quickly.”

In this rare collaboration, business engagement officers at all six universities work together to develop a strategy for connecting companies with appropriate and available university resources. The portal is part of an array of programs offered by MCRN and funded by the MEDC to help businesses connect with university resources in an effort to boost Michigan’s economy while strengthening the collaboration between academia and industry.

The Michigan Corporate Relations Network is collaboration among six public universities and Michigan’s University Research Corridor working to connect small businesses with university resources that help to drive innovation and commercialization. Its work is funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. For information on MCRN’s programs including the Small Company Innovation Program; the Small Company Internship Award Program; the Instant Innovation Program; and the Michigan Information Transfer Source, visit http://www.michigancrn.org.

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