Corridor Funding Competition Begins

LANSING — Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced Friday that the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) has received 111 proposals for life sciences research projects to develop innovative technology and new jobs in Michigan.

The proposals are competing for $26.5 million in funding available through the 2005 Michigan Technology Tri-Corridor program.

The amount of life sciences funding is roughly half of what the state made available in the last year of the Engler administration.

In discussing the allocation, Granholm noted that the state is a national leader in technology research and development. The administration also recently pointed out that Michigan — thanks to the exportation of manufacturing jobs and the loss of manufacturing job multipliers — recently also became a national leader in unemployment.

“The key to our success,’ the governor said, “will be moving that technology into products and services that will help Michigan companies grow and create new jobs.” She said that 2005’s Technology Tri-Corridor funding “will provide what promising entrepreneurs need to make the transition from the lab to the marketplace.”

MEDC reported receiving funding requests from universities, nonprofit and private research facilities, companies and people.

Of the 111 requests, 55 are for basic research and 34 others concern applied research in treatment for cancer, strokes and renal failure.

The remaining 22 applications focus on commercialization and include the support of market-ready technology plus financing such as pre-seed funding, and licensing and market research.

The MEDC points out that though this year’s competition is open to life sciences projects, such projects often have applications in the Tri-Corridor’s other two targeted sectors: advanced automotive technology and homeland security.

“The Technology Tri-Corridor continues to promote this legacy by supporting cutting-edge research and ensuring that the financing and infrastructure are there for sustained growth in the state,” Granholm said.

The Technology Tri-Corridor is Granholm’s modification of former Gov. John Engler’s promotion of the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor. Since 2000, the corridor programs have allocated more than $196 million through 143 awards.

The American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) will be review and evaluate the proposals in an independent peer-review process. The selections are expected to be announced in June.

AAAS, publisher of Science magazine, is the world’s largest association of scientists and engineers with 135,000 members.        

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