The Blue Economy Tour stopped in Houghton today. This report about the meeting was supplied by University Research Corridor Officials.
Members of Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC) – an alliance between Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University – met today with higher education and economic development leaders to discuss the impact of water-related research on the local and state economies during the second stop in the URC’s five-city statewide “Blue Economy” tour.
The meeting took place at Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center in Houghton. Attending the event were Jeff Mason, URC executive director; Guy Meadows, Great Lakes Research Center director; Noel R. Urban, Michigan Tech professor and Sea Grant project leader; Alex Mayer, Michigan Tech professor of groundwater transport; and Elizabeth Hoy, Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce board member and Michigan Tech assistant director of operations and industry outreach, among others from the educational and business communities.
“Michigan’s University Research Corridor is committed to increasing partnerships throughout the state with institutions such as Michigan Technological University, a valued partner in the protection and promotion of Michigan’s water resources,” Mason said. “With one in five Michigan jobs tied to having good and plentiful water, we look forward to working with the education and business communities in each of the five cities we’re visiting as well as statewide to move the needle on water research.”
The three URC universities received nearly $300 million in awards for water-related research and outreach from 2009 to 2013, according to the “Innovating for the Blue Economy” report commissioned by the URC from Anderson Economic Group.
In addition to R&D, the three URC universities each year produce more than 3,400 graduates prepared to analyze and find solutions to water-related issues in academia, government and the private sector, bringing new talent and energy to the field. Nearly 40 percent of those graduates earned advanced degrees, according to the report. Michigan ranked fourth in the nation in the percentage of jobs associated with industries related to water, at 718,700.
“We value our water resources, from the deep waters of Lake Superior to the countless waterfalls, streams and rivers that enhance life in the Upper Peninsula,” said Elizabeth Hoy, Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce board member and Michigan Tech’s Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement assistant director of operations and industry outreach. “We want to be a part of both protecting and using that water in new and innovative ways in important U.P. industries.”
URC officials held the first tour stop on Sept. 3 at Macomb County’s Lake St. Clair Metropark. Future stops on the `Blue Economy’ tour include Muskegon, Bay City/Saginaw and Traverse City.