Tech Corridor Finalists Set

June 7, 2004
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LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has narrowed the field of competitors to 53 from 131 in the running for a share of $24 million in funding from the Michigan Technology Tri-Corridor this year. The funds are made available to spur research, commercialization and job creation in the life sciences, advanced automotive manufacturing and homeland security industry sectors.

Four Kent County projects were named finalists. They are the “RenoChip,” a tool for diagnosis, prognosis and drug-response in kidney cancer, Van Andel Research Institute; development of novel agents for nuclear imaging and therapy of Met-expressing human tumors, Van Andel Research Institute; a technology assessment of drinking water infrastructure for homeland security, Global Enterprise for Water Technology; and a hot metal gas forming production verification program, Hot Metal Gas Forming Inc.

“Michigan has an incredible legacy as the cradle of research and innovation,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm. “Technology Tri-Corridor funding helps fuel our innate entrepreneurial spirit by encouraging the commercialization of the great ideas hatched here. The quality and volume of the proposals is indicative of the wealth of talent that Michigan has to offer.”

The announcement was made this morning as the MEDC represented Michigan at the BIO 2004 World Conference in San Francisco. BIO is the largest gathering of biosciences professionals in the world, with more than 16,000 attending. The MEDC is hosting a pavilion with more than 25 Michigan partners from the public and private sectors to promote the state’s biosciences industry and the life sciences component of the Michigan Technology Tri-Corridor.

In her 2004 State of the State address, Granholm announced a focused, seven-point plan for economic growth. The Technology Tri-Corridor is one element of the plan, targeting job creation in the three high-growth, high-opportunity industry sectors.

Professionals from the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), the world’s largest association of scientists and engineers, reviewed the original 131 proposals, narrowing the field to 53. The finalists are now participating in formal interviews, which will serve as the basis for funding recommendations to the Tri-Corridor Steering Committee. The awards are expected to be announced later this month.

Proposals were submitted by universities, nonprofit and private research facilities, companies and individuals. More than half of the 53 finalists are working in homeland security or developing technology with anti-terrorism applications.

“Michigan’s trademark is entrepreneurial talent and technical savvy,” said MEDC President and CEO Don Jakeway. “By nurturing research and commercialization through the Technology Tri-Corridor, Michigan will continue to set the pace of technological innovation for the global economy of the 21st century.”

The Technology Tri-Corridor is built on the successful model of the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor. Between 2000 and 2003, the Life Sciences Corridor Fund allocated $175 million through 96 awards. As a result of the initiative, Michigan’s life sciences industry is ranked among the fastest growing in the nation.    

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