URC investing in 'revolutionary but feasible' energy ideasFebruary 25, 2008
Michigan's University Research Corridor is investing up to $900,000 of its own resources in seed grants to speed up the development of "revolutionary but feasible" alternative energy research involving researchers at two or more of the URC universities.
The URC, an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, was formed to transform, strengthen and diversify the state's economy. The universities are working together to leverage their collective assets and encourage collaboration with business, government and communities to help accelerate innovation and economic growth.
The research universities will consider proposals from faculty related to novel research in energy policy, materials (including nanomaterials), clean energy sources, transmission and storage that is environmentally safe, cost-effective, and secure. A panel of experts from the three universities will select grant recipients, giving preference to projects that show the best potential for feasibility and impact.
U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said she sees limitless opportunities for the URC and its ability to bring together partners to tackle bigger projects together that we couldn't otherwise do on our own. MSU President Lou Anna Simon has stressed that few states can match the URC's combined strengths in energy research.
WSU President Irvin R. Reid attracted NextEnergy to WSU's TechTown research park and established an innovative alternative energy program while MSU recently opened a new alternative energy center and last year attracted its largest grant ever, $50 million for developing biofuel technology. U-M, which conducts more than $35 million per year in energy research, is home to the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and U-M is a leader in the development of solar energy, fuel cells, batteries and other technology.
Harnessing Michigan's wide array of expertise in energy and transportation research to develop new industries is also a top goal of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who recently proposed Centers of Excellence where alternative energy companies and universities would collaborate to rapidly commercialize emerging technology and create new jobs.
The universities hope the seed funding will attract further interest from industry, government and foundations in supporting some of the best university research talent in the nation to find better ways to generate, distribute and use energy sources that are environmentally friendly, cost-effective and secure.
By working together, each contributing equally to the effort, the URC universities hope to better position their researchers to be nationally competitive while helping to shape the direction of both state and national energy policy.
URC researchers must submit their proposals by April 14. Funding to the winning proposal or proposals is expected to begin in June.
In 1999, the three research universities helped establish Michigan's Life Sciences Corridor. When the URC began in late 2006, the universities pledged to build on that earlier success and take the collaborative approach to a higher level with expanded partnerships in a host of disciplines. Together, they conduct more than $1.3 billion worth of research per year, 94 percent of the academic R&D conducted in Michigan.
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