The third annual University of Michigan Data for Public Good Symposium, which runs 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020 in Ann Arbor, will feature presentations on ways in which students, faculty, staff and community members have worked together to analyze and assess data to benefit others. The event includes a presentation by industry partner Data Driven Detroit, which provides accessible high-quality information and analysis to nonprofit organizations, foundations, universities, and businesses to support data-driven decision-making in the city.
Rebecca Cunningham, the University of Michigan Interim VP for Research with Tech Transfer and Kelly Sexton, Associate VP for Research at Technology Transfer and Innovation Partnerships at U of M TechTransfer, held a panel this week at Celebrate Invention on a milestone year for the University of Michigan developing inventions, research, and startups from work done by faculty and researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. TechTransfer is the licensing office that helps researchers and faculty at the University of Michigan who develop inventions and new business ideas spin off intellectual property with proper licensing from the University of Michigan. This year, according to Cunningham, the University of Michigan has developed 502 new inventions, 198 patents, 232 licenses and options with industry, and founded a record 22 new startups.
The University of Michigan has a Princeton Review #1-rated ecosystem for student entrepreneurs and multiple venture accelerators, which is great support for budding startups in Ann Arbor and Michigan’s growing tech industry. But what really goes on behind closed doors? As supportive as the University of Michigan is for new businesses being spun out from faculty or run through funded programs with multiple levels of mentorship, this can all still look a bit opaque from the outside. As part of our mission to highlight the accelerating growth of Ann Arbor and Michigan regional tech over the past few years, we wanted to sit down with the Desai Accelerator run out of U-M’s Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business to hear how things work and what resources are out there for people looking to connect. This is a newer program, and still being shaped.
Jeni Olney’s role at the University of Michigan is to get students excited and interested in entrepreneurship, to be exposed to the idea of entrepreneurship as a useful skill set and a valuable degree. “Then, once I get them into classes, my job is to connect them to resources,” Olney says. This is Innovate Blue, the University of Michigan’s program for connecting any and all undergraduate students with the option of a minor in entrepreneurship.
A microfluidic device invented at the University of Michigan and developed by U of M startup Optofluidic Bioassay may offer a cheaper, faster, and much more reliable antibody test than those currently being rushed to market to trace the spread of COVID-19. A microfluidic device is described by the company as a “lab on a chip,” meaning that it shrinks multiple lab testing functions onto a single chip just millimeters or centimeters in size. The technology enables faster results for coronavirus antibody testing with smaller sample sizes.
Manufacturers across the Midwest are rushing at historic speeds to create protective gear, ventilator components, and other hospital gear for front-line healthcare workers saving lives in the coronavirus outbreak, which in Michigan is now increasing in confirmed cases by up to 1,500 cases per day. Susan Carlock is a former ER nurse, so when her stamping and component manufacturing company Mursix Corporation in Yorktown, Indiana, heard about the urgent need for PPE, ventilators, and other medical supplies at Michigan hospitals, she sprang into action. Carlock is now VP of Business Development at Mursix, and like many others around the Great Lakes manufacturing belt, she knows the importance of moving quickly to retool a production line normally used to produce parts for the automotive industry to creating face shields, ventilator parts, and hospital bed components. It can’t happen overnight, especially at a time when smaller manufacturers are fighting against urgent conditions and a shortage of materials being scooped up by larger companies. Mursix began speaking with Beaumont Health System in Detroit, and soon they had arrangements to create components for a number of hospital supplies so desperately needed in the fight against COVID-19.
It’s already March, so we’re going back to our standard format for Michigan tech events including meetups this month, in case you’ve missed the usuals. We’ve highlighted a few we think you might be interested in. Have a great month, Great Lakes tech!
It’s already that time again, our monthly Cronicle tech events post for Ann Arbor, Detroit, and several notable tech events going on around the rest of the state of Michigan including Grand Rapids and Traverse City. We can’t cover them all, so this month we’re highlighting a few we haven’t before, such as Nerd Nite–science + beer! Also, coding + beer. We’ll get through the winter with beer.
Joe Affholter of Michigan State Unversity and Michelle Larkin at the University of Michigan have essentially the same job: get academic research in the life sciences from the laboratory where it is discovered in Michigan’s half dozen largest research universities out to industry. Sounds simple, but it’s anything but. That’s because the MEDC’s Life Sciences MTRAC program is tasked with licensing technology invented in the academic system, mentoring new founders who often did not start in industry, and with helping companies get funded through clinical trials and the push out to the commercial market, which can take years to complete.
Denise Graves is the University Relations Director for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. She coordinates funding for a number of startup funds around the state, and she works closely with universities to get inventions out into industry. We’ve known the MEDC was supporting revitalizing the Michigan economy for years, but recently we ran into Graves at a university entrepreneurial event and realized we only ever get a partial picture of how startups can connect with the MEDC for business support services, and how all of this really works. We wanted to know more, and thought you might as well. Graves and her colleague, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the MEDC Fred Molnar, explained to Cronicle the process they go through to help support new ventures in Michigan.