In recognition of its strong commitment to economic development and prosperity, Michigan State University has been designated as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association for Public and Land-Grant Universities, or APLU. The national designation acknowledges MSU’s work with public- and private-sector partners to strengthen economic development across the state.
MSU is one of just three universities in Michigan with this designation and one of 80 universities nationwide to be recognized for its excellence in this important work.
“We’re thrilled to receive this designation which acknowledges MSU’s historic commitment to building connections and working collaboratively to advance statewide economic development for all communities that we serve,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “The insight gained through this process underscores the importance of engagement and innovation efforts ensuring that economic prosperity is integrated into university planning.”
APLU’s Commission on Economic and Community Engagement, which manages the designation process, is a national leader in efforts to help public research universities plan, assess and communicate their work in regional, national and global economic development and community engagement.
“Economic development is a major pillar of universities’ work,” said APLU President Mark Becker. “From talent development to pathbreaking research to entrepreneurship and beyond, institutions have a central role to play in economic development. We’re pleased to recognize Michigan State University for its commitment to engaging its community around these issues to advance regional economic development.”
Michigan State received the designation after an independent panel reviewed the university’s application, which included an internal review and analysis of its economic engagement activities conducted with outside stakeholder input.
As part of the self-study, MSU identified three areas of particular accomplishment:
- Creating space for innovation. MSU has several units and programs credited with opening doors to innovation, including the MSU Innovation Center, MSU Research Foundation, Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures and Michigan Rise Pre-Seed III Fund. Collectively, these programs support MSU and community innovators and entrepreneurs in their pursuit of commercial and societal impact built on their ideas and inventions. Together, these programs have deployed more than $20 million in early and follow-on capital for more than 150 companies that are part of the MSU ecosystem, creating upwards of 900 jobs. Additionally, 44% of the founders in the Michigan Rise portfolio are people of color, contributing to MSU’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals.
- Enhancing place through community engagement. This work includes MSU’s Center for Community and Economic Development, which houses the University Center for Regional Economic Innovation and collaborates on place-based community engagement and development through student-led, faculty-guided projects; co-learning plans; and the Innovation Fellows Program. To date, 60-plus co-learning plans have been sponsored, generating new knowledge pertaining to innovative economic development tools, models, strategies, policies and practices. The findings serve as a key resource for economic development practitioners and policymakers in Michigan.
- Developing the next generation of talent. Programs likethe Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation empower students to learn through action by providing programs, courses and resources to test ideas, foster an entrepreneurial mindset and create new ventures. More than 1,000 MSU students have engaged in the Burgess Institute’s venture creation programs, creating more than 700 startups. Since 2016, student entrepreneurs have raised $25.8 million to fund their ventures and keep building.
Kwesi Brookins, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement, said the designation recognizes MSU’s impact on innovation and economic development and positions the university to build on those accomplishments.
“We take great pride in being designated an IEP university, and while we look forward to continuing our commitment to economic engagement, we always welcome the opportunity to grow,” Brookins said.