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Research Incubators

Innovation in West Michigan is about more than building a better mouse trap. It’s also an interconnected ideation network that includes pure research, applied research and a regional collection of incubators, specialty labs, advanced technologies, university collaborations, financial support and global research partners.

Pure Research
The Van Andel Institute is an internationally recognized biomedical research organization focused on cancer and Parkinson disease with an emphasis on translating scientific research results into clinical applications. VAI Collaborations and Programs include:
  • The Center for Molecular Medicine, the Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Health offer technologies for investigation of complex diseases like cancer, heart disease, mental illness, and other conditions at the DNA, RNA, and protein levels.
  • ClinXus is a partnership between several West Michigan healthcare and life science organizations that provides a single point of contact for clinical research clients, patients, and physicians who participate in clinical studies
  • XB-Biointegration Suite is a central informatics solution from Van Andel Institute and XB TransMed Solutions that facilitates the systematic management of pre-clinical, clinical, demographic, biomedical, and molecular information
Michigan’s University Research Corridor (URC) – is an alliance among Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University to transform, strengthen and diversify the state’s economy. The collaborative effort works with businesses and other stakeholders to facilitate collaboration and speed technology transfer and development.

University of Michigan (U of M) Research – University research expenditures for 2009-2010 totaled $1.14 billion, an increase of 12% over the previous fiscal year. U of M is known for its interdisciplinary research initiatives, such as nanoscience and technology, energy, and life sciences.  

Applied Research
The Calvin College Enterprise Center and College of Engineering provides several services for business including access to science and engineering faculty as well as lab space and equipment. Custom research projects tailored to client specifications as well as students for contract work are available to support innovation projects. Areas of expertise include renewable energy systems, environmental acoustics, machine vibrations, cell biology, and restoration ecology.

Ferris State University provides faculty, outside providers, and students in applied research activities related to Ferris State University programs. Sample projects could include but are not limited to:
  • Small business grants for innovative tooling/processing techniques.
  • Application testing of grinding wheels.
  • Laboratory testing of new drugs.
  • Optometry process and product testing programs.

Fraunhofer USA, Inc. performs applied research under contract to government and industry. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft which has over 80 research units throughout Germany. Each Fraunhofer USA research center is closely affiliated with at least one German counterpart as well as major U.S. universities. Selected research foci include alternative/sustainable energy, laser technologies, molecular biotechnologies, manufacturing innovation and software engineering.

Western Michigan University is a leader in applied research and innovation. In the last five years it has secured contracts with over 40 different industries including 20 within the state of Michigan. The college also does basic research funded by such agencies as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force.

The Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) supports alternative and renewable energy development. Its services include business consulting, incubators, lab space, and access to Grand Valley State University faculty and resources. As a self-sustaining distributive energy center, MAREC features a 30Kw Unisolar thin film photovoltaic solar roof array, a 30Kw Capstone micro turbine and a Skystream 3.7 wind turbine.

The Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute/BioBusiness Accelerator has several laboratories to serve most general chemical R & D needs, with specific labs designed to support such activities as organic synthesis, instrumental analysis and process development. Its 25,000 square feet of lab space can accommodate 100 individual scientists including MSU and other academic research personnel, corporate research partners, and small business incubators.

GR Current – GR Current is the leading business incubator for life sciences and emerging technologies in West Michigan. They provide the space, resources, capital, and connections to help evolve startups into standalone businesses.