Recently, both Gov. Jennifer Granholm and President George W. Bush have tied economic progress to an increasing need to be globally competitive,an idea that’s long been a part of Michigan State and our land-grant values.
So the focus on MSU inventors and inventions in this issue of MSU Alumni Magazine comes at a particularly appropriate time, as MSU renews its commitment to an entrepreneurial spirit—moving knowledge generated in our labs and classrooms to places and people who put it to work on behalf of Michigan and those we were created to serve.
And I’m pleased to report that increasingly MSU is being recognized, both nationally and internationally, as a “go-to” place—a place where we know how to use our talents purposefully and collectively for the benefit of others.
In the last year, we and our public and private partners have played vital roles in the development of a mid-Michigan SmartZone and the Prima Civitas foundation, both designed to aggressively pursue economic development opportunities in and around Michigan. We’ve seen tremendous growth in MSU’s intellectual property work—a 33 percent increase in invention disclosures so far this year—and in the last four years, our patent application rate has doubled. Since 2002, the work of Michigan State professors and researchers has spawned at least 27 start-up companies.
Our continuing cutting-edge work in biomass conversion is creating foundation chemicals, biocomposite materials and alternative energy sources (like biofuels) that will be essential to the creation of a “bioeconomy” in Michigan, bringing together and building on the historic strengths and existing resources of our agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
And we’re focusing our work on health and biomedical research—including food, nutrition, and disease processes—environmental science and policy, security and risk assessment, and other areas that directly address some of the most pressing issues that face our nation and our world today.
As we’ve said before, being the land-grant university for the 21st century and translating that into “world-grant” is really about thinking globally and acting locally—working on behalf of peoples and societies around the world, while rebounding the benefits of that work to the people of Michigan.
We bring the best of the rest of the world to MSU, and we share the best of MSU with the world.
Lou Anna K. Simon, Ph.D.
President, Michigan State University