U-M Breaks Annual Research Funding Record, Approves $78.5M Renovation Medical Lab Project


The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor announced a record high $1.4 billion in annual research funding during its most recent fiscal year that ended in June. It also approved $78.5 million for a project that will create 50 state-of-the-art pharmaceutical laboratories for the university’s medical school.

The project, which was approved by the U-M Board of Regents, will be located in northeast Ann Arbor and consist of the renovation of the last two usable buildings at the university’s North Campus Research Complex.

The renovated buildings — called 20 East and 25 — will be interconnected and feature repurposed lab benches, cabinets, and other materials from areas of the research complex that have already been updated. In addition, 101,000 square feet of laboratory space, which will be grouped by areas of research, and a two-story atrium will be included.

“This is a major milestone in our progress toward redeveloping (the North Campus Research Complex) and transforming it from an outpost of the university to a magnet,” says David Canter, executive director of the North Campus Research Complex. “We’re on track to achieve 100 percent utilization of the site’s existing buildings by 2019.”

With the renovations, he expects the number of individuals who work at the research complex to grow from 2,700 to 3,400.

Two other projects now underway at the research complex include an effort to create a new clinical pathology testing facility that will analyze blood samples and other specimens from patients at the U-M Health System, and a $3.8 million plan to turn a former drug manufacturing building into U-M academic archive space.

The North Campus Research Complex sits on a 174-acre site and features 28 buildings. The space, which U-M acquired in June 2009, features hundreds of researchers from the university and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, dozens of labs and offices, the M-City complex, more than a dozen startup companies that grew out of U-M research, shared facilities and equipment, offices for conducting clinical and pre-clinical research, various amenities, event space, and environmentally sustainable features.

About two thirds of the total volume of research at U-M is conducted under contract with various federal agencies. Much of this year’s growth came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where expenditures rose by 6 percent to $467 million.

Funding from the National Science Foundation increased by 8.6 percent to $86 million, and support from the Department of Defense was up by 7.8 percent to $80.5 million. Expenditures under contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration also rose by 19.5 percent, to $52 million, and funds from the Department of Energy were up by 4.3 percent to $40 million.

Total expenditures from industry sources amounted to a record high of $85 million in FY 2016, up 8.5 percent from the previous year.

Last year, U-M researchers reported 428 new inventions and 135 patents issued. The Office of Technology Transfer also signed a record 173 license and option agreements with companies seeking to commercialize U-M discoveries.

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