MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) – Michigan State University plans to open a research institute in Midland to look at how businesses bring products and services to market.

The research institute is being launched with pledges of $15.5 million in philanthropic and corporate support. School President Lou Anna Simon said it will focus on value chain creation and management, looking at major challenges facing businesses.

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“By developing more effective, sustainable value chains through this initiative, we hope to provide both an advantage for American manufacturing and pathways for the world to respond more successfully to human needs,” she said in a statement.

The East Lansing school announced plans for the institute during last week’s meeting of the Board of Trustees. Michigan State already has a supply chain management program, and the institute will offer graduate studies in value chain management.

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A value chain is described as the management of processes related to product innovation, design, sourcing, procurement, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, inventory management, warehousing, marketing, customer services, and returns and repairs.

Initially, an executive director and six tenure-track Michigan State University researchers will staff the institute. Non-degree courses and certificate programs will be offered on site and online.

Midland-based chemical giant Dow Chemical Co. is among the initial donors to the institute. Other donors include Dow Corning, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation and The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation.

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