Michigan leads the nation in announcements of research and development facility projects, according to this month’s issue of Site Selection, a real estate trade publication.
The Norcross, Ga.-based bimonthly also cites Detroit as the fastest-growing market in the U.S. for high-tech jobs.
The state’s high rate of engineering graduates — Michigan ranks fifth in the country, according to theNational Center of Education Statistics — has helped boost growth in the tech sector.
“Access to talent is the most important factor in being an R&D state,” Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said in the article.
The automotive industry remains a key player in R&D, Finney said. Other important vehicles for growth include the University Research Corridor, a partnership involving Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan that encourages collaboration between businesses and intellectual talent. Also contributing is the MEDC’s business incubators and startup support services.
Companies such as Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. and Compuware Corp. have moved to Detroit’s Woodward Avenue corridor, increasing the number of available tech-related jobs in the area.
Notable R&D upgrades and new construction in Michigan since 2008 include investments by Saginaw’sNexteer Automotive Corp. ($413 million); MPI Research Inc. in Mattawan, near Kalamazoo ($330 million); and Ann Arbor’s Toyota Technical Center ($187 million).
The magazine bases its rankings in part on the December 2011 “MetroMonitor” report from the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy think tank. The report analyzes the post-recession economic recovery of metropolitan regions.
Both Detroit and Grand Rapids feature in the nation’s top 20 most improved, thanks in large part to gains in manufacturing and the automotive industry.