June 2023 video message

Hello colleagues and friends across the U-M community!

It’s finally summer, a season of relaxation, vacation and personal renewal.

Yet research never rests – it is a constant process of discovery and inspiration, insight and imagination, innovation and invention.

Even during these summer months, our research continues to have a profound impact on our community, our state and our nation.

To give just a couple of examples, U-M is one of the largest employers in Michigan, and this past fiscal year, our research enterprise contributed $126 million to the state’s economy directly through the purchase of goods and services.

In fact, over the past five years, we’ve contributed more than half-a-billion dollars to Michigan-based companies supplying goods and services in support of our research projects.

That’s just the beginning.

Just a few weeks ago, we announced that we are investing $55 million to launch a multidisciplinary Quantum Research Institute, which will expand our work in this burgeoning field, as well as better prepare students for leadership roles in the future quantum workforce.

We also engaged with state, private sector and educational partners in the Semiconductor Talent Action Team, a new effort to make Michigan a leader in the semiconductor industry.

Hand-in-hand with that effort, we have joined a partnership to establish a Semiconductor Talent and Automotive initiative in Michigan, which will focus on accelerating research in electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as talent acquisition, training and development.

Thanks to the State of Michigan, we will be building a $130 million Electric Vehicle Center, which will be focused on technology and workforce development, and solidifying our state – and our nation – as a leader in the industry.

And we will be using a nearly $10 million dollar federal grant to assist in efforts to deploy cellular-to-everything technology, a technology that will enable a new generation of cars to exchange safety-enhancing data with the world around them.

I’m especially excited about the possibilities of U-M’s Innovation Partnerships Office. Innovation Partnerships was established to serve as the primary gateway for researchers seeking to increase the impact of their work through commercialization.

So far this fiscal year, the office has supported the launch of 21 startup companies and has received more than 550 new invention discoveries from U-M faculty, which places us among the top universities in the nation.

And last year, our startups generated some three-quarters-of-a-billion dollars in investment activity.

The Office is led by Kelly Sexton, Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships, who is this month’s Portrait of a Wolverine.

But rather than me talking about her, it’s better for her to tell you a bit more about herself, and what inspires and excites her about the office and what possibilities she sees ahead.