New Database Connects Businesses with University Experts

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A new database collaborative released Thursday will allow businesses to connect with experts from six Michigan-based universities for advice on projects, assistance in streamlining operations or help in boosting efficiencies. 

Thanks to a partnership between the Michigan Corporate Relations Network and Elsevier in Amsterdam, the Expertise and Resource Portal allows users to search a database of 6,632 researchers and 103 core research facilities at Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses). Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University will soon be added to the network.

“These universities and faculty members aren’t just sitting in their labs doing research for research’s sake,” says Jeff Mason, executive director of Michigan’s University Research Corridor, which is part of the network. “They’re hoping to have … an impact in society and in the business community.”

Users of the database can perform searches based on a concept, a researcher’s name, or a published abstract, Mason says.

“Using the portal, they might find a faculty member that has done research in material science and have already solved that problem,” he says. “Or maybe there’s some research that’s been done that’s similar to a challenge a company is trying to address. (The database) helps cut down on time and cost to get to the answer.”

The portal’s search tools will guide users to the university business engagement office, where they can connect to the appropriate university resources. According to Mason, the network was originally founded to help the universities create corporate relationships, and “the portal is just one tool to help them.”

Once faculty and facilities from MTU and WMU are integrated into the system, the database will encompass 99 percent of all research and patent activity at Michigan universities.

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