Expertise portal connects businesses nationwide with resources at Michigan universities

Database, created by MCRN and Elsevier, enables companies to tap into faculty researchers and high-tech facilities

Michigan's leading research universities have created a free online portal enabling companies throughout the United States to tap into a knowledge pool of faculty researchers, high-tech facilities and other academic resources responsible for more than $2 billion in annual research.

[caption align="alignright"]The Michigan Corporate Relations Network has created an Expertise and Resource Portal enabling businesses nationwide to tap into the expertise of researchers and resources at Michigan’s top universities. (Photo courtesy of MCRN) The Michigan Corporate Relations Network has created an Expertise and Resource Portal enabling businesses across the US to tap into the expertise of researchers and resources at Michigan’s top universities. (Photo courtesy of MCRN) [/caption] The portal, based on Elsevier's SciVal Experts system, showcases Michigan's leading research experts and facilities. It provides an easy way for companies to find experts who can help them develop new products or deal with technical challenges, for example, thereby facilitating the transfer of essential knowledge.

The portal is part of an array of programs offered by MCRN and funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to help businesses connect with university resources in an effort to boost Michigan's economy while strengthening the collaboration between academia and industry.

By using the portal, businesses gain access to nationally recognized research universities, including Michigan State University in East Lansing, the 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.

[caption align="alignleft"]Charley HasemannCharley Hasemann[/caption]"Using the portal can save companies valuable time in their efforts to tap the extensive expertise at Michigan's top research universities," said Charley Hasemann, executive director of Michigan State University's Business-CONNECT office.

Once faculty and facilities from Michigan Technological University in Houghton and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo are integrated, the database will enable users to tap 99 percent of all research and patent activity occurring at Michigan universities.

The portal came together after months of collaboration between the universities, the URC and Elsevier. Business engagement officers at all six universities work together to develop a strategy for connecting companies with appropriate and available university resources.

"University research can help drive economic growth, especially since valuable innovations can result from effective knowledge-sharing between universities and industry," said Dr. Nick Fowler, Elsevier's Managing Director of Academic and Government Institutions.

How the portal works

[caption align="alignright"]Daryl WeinertDaryl Weinert[/caption]Searches can involve a concept, a researcher's name or a published abstract. After selecting the researchers and/or facilities they would like to contact and filling out the brief submission form, users are contacted by a business engagement office within five working days. The business engagement offices then connect businesses with the appropriate university resources.

"By using this tool, 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 at the University of Michigan Office of Research and Sponsored Projects in Ann Arbor. "We know companies need timely answers to remain competitive, and we make sure we connect them to university resources quickly." [caption align="alignnone"]The home page of the MCRN Expertise and Resource PortalThe home page of the MCRN Expertise and Resource Portal[/caption][divider]

The Author

[caption align="alignright"]Jeff MasonJeff Mason[/caption]

Jeff Mason is Executive Director of Michigan's University Research Corridor, an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. The URC is part of the Michigan Corporate Relations Network, which is working to connect small businesses with university resources to help to drive innovation and commercialization.

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