URC Benchmark Findings: 2020

Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC) ― Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University ― continues to lead in preparing medical talent and remains competitive with the nation’s top university innovation clusters in talent, research and development (R&D) and technology transfer.

Talent Development

  • The URC ranked first in enrollment (154,786 students) in 2020. This is a slight decrease from 2019 by a little over 1,000 students.
  • The URC ranked third in degrees granted (37,466 degrees) in 2020, an increase of nearly 1,500 degrees granted in 2019.
    • High-Tech Degrees: The URC granted 4.7 percent more high-tech degrees (12,815 degrees) in 2020 than 2019.
    • High-Demand Degrees: The URC ranked third among peer clusters in granting 13,544 high-demand degrees (business, computer science and engineering) in 2020 – an increase of 5.7 percent from 2019.
    • Medical Degrees: The URC ranked first (again) in awarding medical degrees (2,529 degrees) in 2020 – far surpassing the second rank cluster, North Carolina’s Research Triangle, which conferred 1,539 medical degrees.

Research & Development

  • Ranking fifth among its peer clusters, the URC conducted $2.64 billion in total R&D in 2020, a slight decrease from 2019 by $15.6 million, but an increase of $76 million from 2018.
  • The URC increased its total R&D conducted by 69 percent since 2007.
    • The URC accounts for 92 percent of all academic R&D in Michigan in 2020.
    • The URC ranks fourth in science & engineering R&D expenditures ($2,406 million) among its peers in 2021.

Technology Transfer

  • The URC ranks second in licensing and options of technology (283 total licenses and options) among its peers in 2020.
  • The URC ranked fifth in patents awarded (234 patents) among its peers in 2020.
  • Since 2000, the URC has created 348 startup companies, and 129 startups were created in the last five years


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