A Commitment to Partnerships for a Stronger Michigan

Equipping citizens to achieve prosperity has been part of Michigan State University's portfolio since our establishment in 1855...Today, Michigan State is on the ground in every county in the state, making us uniquely equipped to partner in the community development and regional economic development initiatives that will be so vital to our future...

We are hard at work applying our vast capabilities to attack the toughest problems in partnership with communities across Michigan...With our University Research Corridor partners, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, we constitute a formidable innovation cluster positioning Michigan and its citizens to compete successfully in the global knowledge economy.

Lou Anna K. Simon

Source: Simon, L.A.K. (2011, January 20). A commitment to partnership for a stronger Michigan. From the President's desk. East Lansing: Michigan State University. Retrieved from A commitment to partnership for a stronger Michigan.

Every day, MSU researchers work to promote prosperity for the people of Michigan—making a positive impact on the state's economy, education, health, environment, and arts. They work side by side with small businesses, corporations, hospitals, schools, and communities in every part of the state to make life better.

Now more than ever, these scholars are thinking about innovative ways to apply their discoveries to real-life problems. In partnership with communities, they are using their creativity to make connections between "pure" research and practical uses for it.

Behind the scenes at MSU is a powerful infrastructure to support this work. Strategies that the University has employed to coordinate and strengthen the efforts of individual faculty around regional economic development include:

  • Incubating new businesses and assisting established ones
  • Transferring technologies and inventions to the marketplace
  • Building inter-university collaborations
  • Strengthening leadership for sustainable economies

Another primary strategy has been to focus on what's working—and more fully utilize existing assets in sectors that are already strong building blocks for a new economy in Michigan:

  • Agriculture and agribusiness ("Michigan's first green industry")
  • Arts and cultural entrepreneurship
  • Bioeconomy/energy alternatives
  • Community-based health care, medical education, and research
  • Community economic development
  • Knowledge economy

We know that evidence-based practice works, as many case studies have shown.

By working in a regional context, engaging local leadership, building onexisting assets, paying attention to inclusiveness and sustainability, basing plans on solid research, and approaching change with an entrepreneurial spirit, communities across America and around the world have successfully addressed their economic challenges.

This issue of The Engaged Scholar Magazine is a special edition focusing on economic development, drawing together a variety of stories from across the university about the ways in which MSU is working to improve the economic well-being of the state and its citizens.

Linda Chapel Jackson


  1. Anderson, L., Clogston, F., Erekat, D., Garmise, S., Girdwood, C., Mulcaire, C., & Thorstensen, L. (2010, March). Creating quality jobs: Transforming the economic development landscape. Washington, DC: International Economic Development Council. Retrieved from
  2. National Association of Realtors. (2005, February). Economic development case studies. Chicago, IL: Author. Retrieved from
  3. Swinburn, G., & Murphy, F. (2005). Local economic development strategic planning and practice casebook. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Retrieved from (search Documents & Reports for title)

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