UM-Dearborn will join UM-Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, and Michigan Technological University in the nation’s first statewide university-business collaboration network. Michigan Corporate Relations Network (M-CRN) will connect universities and businesses to enhance growth, productivity, teaching, and research for both parties, according to the university’s press release.

The engagement network will involve six components. First, business engagement offices will be established at UM-Dearborn, Michigan Tech, and WMU. The offices at UM-Ann Arbor, MSU, and WSU have “proved critically important resources for businesses in navigating university offices.” These offices allow businesses to gain access to “research expertise and student talent.”

Next will be the Small Company Innovation Program, which will help companies partner with universities for company-specific research projects. The Small Company Internship Aware Program will provide funding for students to take part in internships and co-ops with corporate partners in academically relevant areas including science, technology, engineering, and math.

The network will also include a business portal that allows businesses to search faculty expertise and access university library resources. An Instant Innovation program will connect faculty experts and Michigan companies to “tackle significant business and research challenges.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Strategic Fund Board will provide $1.8 million in funding. Participating corporations will contribute as well, so the total funding will exceed $3 million.

“Companies like Google, Facebook and Dell were born on college campuses and we want to keep helping our leading universities turn the latest developments into jobs,” said Michael Finney, the president and CEO of the MEDC.

Look for the changes at the award winning College of Business soon.