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AURP Award

Michigan State University Foundation wins Emerging Park Award at AURP 2021 International Conference

Posted: Monday, November 1, 2021
Category: Innovation Parks

Earns award for creating exceptional high-tech entrepreneurship ecosystem

EAST LANSING, Mich., NOV. 1, 2021 –– The Association of University Research Parks (AURP) today named Michigan State University Foundation the recipient of their 2021 Emerging Research Park Award.  

The award, presented at the 26th Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony on October 19th, 2021 at the AURP 2021 International Conference in Salt Lake City, is given to a research park that is building an exceptional ecosystem that supports bringing technology from inception to market, leading to sustainable growth, job creation and contributing to the economic health of the region.

In the last seven years, the MSU Foundation and Michigan State University have made significant contributions to the region and the state by supporting a robust environment for innovation, entrepreneurship, corporate relationships, and commercialization activities.  MSU and the MSU Foundation have made strategic investments, grown operations, and added new square footage to its footprint in East Lansing and Grand Rapids. 

Examples include:

  • In 2017, assumed management of “The TIC”, a 7,000-square-foot incubator facility located across the street from the MSU campus in downtown East Lansing.
  • Renamed and rebranded the 110-acre University Corporate Research Park on the southwest corner of the campus as the University Health Park.
  • In November 2017, executed a real estate agreement with McLaren Health Care Corporation and McLaren Greater Lansing to catalyze the development of their new $600M hospital within 55 acres of the University Health Park.  The comprehensive health care campus, which includes a state-of-the-art 240-bed acute care hospital, a new cancer center and ambulatory care center, will be home to over 1,000 physicians, researchers, educators, and other members of the academic and medical team, and will open in the Spring of 2022.
  • In November 2018, acquired and renovated the 20,000-square-foot multi-tenant VanCamp Incubator, which opened in September 2019.  The wet lab facility is fully leased with startup companies that have spun out of Michigan State University.
  • In June 2021, MSU Foundation broke ground on a 62,500-square-foot office building within Michigan State University’s Spartan Village complex that will serve as the headquarters for TechSmith Corporation.  The development will help catalyze the re-development of the Spartan Village site and enhance the relationship between MSU and TechSmith Corporation.
  • The MSU Foundation was recently selected by the City of Grand Rapids’ SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) to manage its SmartZone Incubator facility.  The $5.5M investment by the LDFA will position the Foundation to provide high-tech business support services at a newly formed incubator facility within the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building at the Michigan State University’s Grand Rapids Innovation Park along Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile.

“We are honored to be selected as Emerging Research Park at this year’s AURP Conference,” said Jeff Smith, Director of Real Estate at the MSU Foundation.  “Our role is to assist Michigan State University in enhancing the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation by providing flexible spaces and shared resources that allow us to keep new startup companies in our area, while bringing established companies that collaborate with students, faculty and staff on campus.”

The corridor from the University Health Park to Spartan Village to efforts in Grand Rapids is part of an emerging MSU Innovation Network, where a range of exceptional places, programs and services combine to spur innovation, accelerate commercialization of ideas and discoveries, and advance economic growth in the region.

“Michigan is increasingly recognized for the breadth and depth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem, with critical partners like Michigan State University Foundation helping high-tech startup companies bring their innovative ideas to the marketplace from across all corners of our state,” said Fred Molnar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). “We are thrilled to congratulate Michigan State University Foundation on their continued success as we work together to ensure Michigan is a place where entrepreneurs and startups of all kinds can thrive.”

Michigan State joins a prestigious group of former winners, including Capital City Innovation, Austin, Texas; Lehigh University Mountaintop Campus, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and Nebraska Innovation Campus, Lincoln, Nebraska.

“Combined with additional entrepreneurial ecosystem accolades, this latest recognition further highlights the incredible opportunity for entrepreneurial visionaries and high-tech startups in the Lansing region,” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP.  “Through leadership and partnership, including our great partners at the MSU Foundation, once stagnant entrepreneurial efforts are thriving at historic levels. Congratulations to MSU Foundation on this significant achievement!”


About Association of University Research Parks

AURP, a non-profit international organization with offices in Tucson, AZ at the University of rizona Science & Technology Park (Tech Parks AZ) and in the Washington, DC area at the University of Maryland Discovery District, focuses on creating communities of innovation and education for research parks both operating and planned, plus innovation districts, incubators, accelerators and the businesses that support the research park industry.  AURP and its global membership promote research, institute-industry relations and innovation districts to foster innovation and to facilitate the transfer of technology from such institutions to the private sector. Learn more:

About Michigan State University Foundation

The Michigan State University Foundation (MSU Foundation) is a non-profit research foundation associated with Michigan State University (MSU), the premier land grant university in the nation.  The MSU Foundation was formed in 1973 is focused on helping MSU achieve its objectives around economic development through the commercialization of intellectual property created by its faculty, staff, and students. 

In addition to providing over $10 million in research funding to MSU annually, the MSU Foundation owns strategic real estate assets and operates subsidiary organizations focused on technology commercialization and economic development.  These organizations - Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, and the Michigan Rise Pre-Seed Fund - are key partners in the Michigan State University Innovation Center along with MSU Business Connect and MSU Technologies.

Rosenberg and VanCamp
VanCamp Incubator + Research Labs room.
Kitchen and break room of VanCamp Incubator + Research Labs.
Ribbon cutting for VanCamp

About the Michigan State University Foundation

Established in 1973 as an independent non-profit, the Michigan State University Foundation is committed to the commercialization of cutting-edge technologies invented by MSU faculty, staff, and students. The MSU Foundation’s overarching goal is to support research, innovation, and entrepreneurship at the University. Additionally, the MSU Foundation operates Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, Michigan Rise, and the University Corporate Research Park. More information on the organization’s notable achievements, services, leadership, and history are available at