EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Since spring, state leaders and researchers around the U.S. have been vying for their share of millions of federal dollars to boost goals of high-tech jobs. Now, a slice of that money will be coming to mid-Michigan.
A proposal led by the Michigan State University Research Foundation was one of five bids from region around the state. While their goal was a larger slice of the millions in federal grants, $400,000 will help boost technology investments with a focus on semi-conductor chips.
“This is less of about the gem on your ring and more of the target on a laser, or coating on technology parts,” explained Jeffery Smith with the MSU Research Foundation. The Director of Research Parks said developing synthetic diamonds has been an on-going project for years in mid-Michigan.
The material is key in coating semiconductor chips and sensitive equipment.
It is also at the center of a partnership with more than 50 members both in and out of state that’s led by the foundation.
The plan for “Material Advancement and Research Solution” was one of hundreds of applications that were competing for the “tech hub ” designation. It would have opened the door to millions of dollars to boost semi conductor manufacturing, energy production and automation.
While none of Michigan’s five bids got the tech hub title, the foundation did get $400,000 dollars to help develop and plan further investment and manufacturing. To Smith, it is a sign of potential.
“It just means we are not shovel ready. I think we need the planning time to get it there, we will get it to the point we need to be,” he said.
For federal officials, the push to invest comes with a goal to foster innovation and new high-tech jobs. As for Smith, he says it gives the state an opportunity to find new ways to grow.
“It’s playing off our competitive strengths, our work force is amazing, our education is amazing our advance manufacturing capabilities are amazing, and this is a way for us to diversify our economy to weather the storm a lot better compared to the other states doing so,” he said.
Smith said the foundation will be looking at community benefits as part of the grant. It is an effort to make sure further research, manufacturing and investment will help people find jobs and support local economies.