WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: Business Impact of University R&D (Episode 173)

Where do the big ideas come from around which startup businesses originate? Well, certainly from the entrepreneurial community at large, and of course within businesses themselves large and small. Another significant source? University research labs.

The University of Michigan is the public university reporting the largest R&D expenditures in all fields.

Tune in to this morning’s WJR Business Beat to learn more about the impact of this spending on R&D at universities like the University of Michigan:

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

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Good morning, Paul.

Where do the big ideas come from around which startup businesses originate? Well, certainly from the entrepreneurial community at large, and of course within businesses themselves large and small.

Another significant source? University research labs. That’s right, the colleges and universities around our great country not only are set up to educate, but also as part of the educational process, they conduct important research, some of which emerges from the academic environment and makes its way into the business sector.

Schools even have offices commonly known as tech transfer offices dedicated to marketing their research, either by licensing or by creating a startup and establishing an equity position or both.

They raise grants from the outside, whether from various branches of government or from the business sector to support the research, typically in exchange for some kind of rights to the technology that results. That funding in total can reach a hundred billion dollars every year, with about half of it coming from government sources. The institutions themselves contribute about a quarter of that total, and the rest comes from businesses and other related sources.

Who gets the money? Labs focused on engineering, life sciences, biomedical, computer sciences, geosciences and agriculture, just to name a few.

The public university reporting the largest R&D expenditures in all fields? The University of Michigan. We know many great companies in our region and beyond that have started out of the labs of the University of Michigan.

The impact of all this spending on research at universities like University of Michigan? Well, it’s a true economic growth engine for the surrounding communities, fueling the drive for new innovation, employing thousands in well paid jobs, and it contributes to the tax base, too. And many times, the companies that get started based on the research that comes out of those labs results in advancing medical cures, shoring up our nation’s defenses, improving transportation and enhancing not only what we learn, but the way we learn.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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