MSU to create supply chain research institute in Midland

An off-site university research facility slated to open its doors in Midland, Mich. next year will pair MSU with two of the state’s largest corporations.

The facility, dubbed the Midland Research Institute for Value Chain Creation, will be funded in large part by Dow Chemical Co., Dow Corning Corp. and various foundations related to the two companies. An initial $15.5 million from corporate and philanthropic donors is committed to the establishment and first five years of operation.

Dow is one of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers and is ranked 52nd on the 2013 Fortune 500 list. Dow Corning is a multinational corporation specializing in silicone and silicon-based technology.

Value chain research will be the central focus of the institute, with help from the MSU Department of Supply Chain Management at the center.

MSU boasts the top supply chain management program in the country, according to rankings from U.S. News and World Report.

The facilities also will include research in agriculture, packaging, criminal justice and engineering.

The institute is set to open in 2014, said Paul Hunt, senior associate vice president for research and graduate studies. The partnership was approved by the MSU Board of Trustees at its most recent meeting.

Research conducted by the institute could result in energy solutions, new ways to adapt to and mitigate climate change, new ways of providing water, food and healthcare to different parts of the world, and improving transportation efficiency, Hunt said.

Hunt said the institute will be financially self-sufficient through grants, contracts, gifts and other revenue streams.

“This is part of what we do: try to match company’s interests as donors and supporters of the university in areas that will build strength for both of us,” said Bob Groves, vice president for university advancement.

Groves said the strength of MSU’s supply chain program coupled with resources from Dow Chemical and Dow Corning makes for a powerful combination.

MSU’s supply chain program is “clearly something that is extraordinary both in it’s academic prowess in a traditional sense,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said at the board meeting.

David Closs, a supply chain management professor and department chair, will be the interim director during the nationwide search for a permanent director.

Closs said the research institute is an chance for supply chain to be the integrator of disciplines across campus.

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