Partnerships and Collaboration

Partnership and Collaboration 

During Lou Anna K. Simon’s tenure, MSU expanded its land-grant legacy commitment to working with citizen stakeholders and partners across Michigan and around the world to apply discovery and collaboration to 21st century challenges.

This work leveraged MSU’s knowledge assets to promote excellence and to make a difference on and off campus.

Statewide Connections

In the tradition of land grant, of which Michigan State was the pioneer institution, Simon put great emphasis on opening opportunities for the people of the state of Michigan.

  • The College of Human Medicine’s Secchia Center in downtown Grand Rapids enables MSU to strengthen research partnerships with area physicians and scientists. The college also extended its public health program to Flint, which positioned MSU well for its health-related responses to revelations of lead contamination in the city’s municipal water system. In 2016, the university announced a new Pediatric Public Health Initiative in partnership with Hurley Children’s Hospital to address the long-term needs associated with lead exposure.
  • In December 2017, McLaren Health Care and MSU announced a collaboration intended to redesign and elevate health care in the Lansing region. The MSU Foundation sold the health system property south of campus to consolidate McLaren’s two Lansing hospitals into a $450 million state-of-the-art campus. The partners also are collaborating on a precision medicine model.
  • Michigan’s University Research Corridor—a partnership among MSU, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University—was formed to promote the presence and contributions of the state’s three top research institutions. As one of the nation’s top academic research clusters, it is the leading engine for innovation in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. According to the 10th Annual Economic Impact and Benchmark Report released in 2017, URC institutions have contributed $16.5 billion to the state’s economy.
  • The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams—a $730 million national user facility funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, MSU, and the State of Michigan—will advance understanding of rare isotopes and provide research opportunities for scientists and students from around the globe. Within 10 years it will provide: more than 5,000 one-year construction jobs; an estimated $600 million in design, engineering, and construction costs; 400 knowledge-economy jobs —180 at FRIB, 220 in related industries; $187 million in state tax revenue; and $1 billion in total economic activity.
  • In 2009, the university opened the MSU Detroit Center, which houses Community Music School–Detroit, headquarters for College of Education teaching interns, and space for the offices of Admissions, Governmental Affairs, Advancement, and Outreach and Engagement.
  • A new MSU Extension and research facility is planned for Detroit to make it one of the nation’s first to focus on urban food systems.
  • MSU is leading the light- and heavy duty-vehicle component of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, which opened in 2017 in Detroit’s Corktown. The institute is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state, and local governments exploring ways to use composite materials to make automobiles lighter and more fuel-efficient.
  • MSU collaborates with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and others at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, a cross-disciplinary center focusing on three areas of research: sustainable crops, biomass conversion, and field-to-product integration. 
  • Agricultural groups—the university’s first external stakeholders—were frequently included in administrative conversations about MSU’s agricultural and Extension units.
  • The university expanded involvement throughout the state in outreach and engagement activities, including consulting, service, and research in urban areas. MSU Extension has a presence in every Michigan county.
  • The university was well represented to the business community, both as a major developer of graduate talent for employers and as an institutional force for economic development within the community and the state. Simon served on the executive committee of the board of directors of Business Leaders for Michigan and at one point chaired the board of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She also was a member of the board of the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Detroit Innovation District Advisory Committee. In addition, as an advocate for regional cooperation, she participated in the Lansing Area Economic Partnership.

National Leadership

Simon was a strong advocate for public and research universities and a leader among her peers.

Global View

Throughout Simon’s tenure, Michigan State continued its commitment to global learning,  research, and collaboration around the world. MSU was recognized as a leading university in the country for education abroad and international student enrollment during her term.

  • In 2017 approximately 1,400 faculty members were involved in international research and teaching, MSU had more than 325 international institutional partnership agreements in 80 countries, and more than 30 internationally focused centers, institutes, and offices.
  • In 2012, the university entered into a nine-year partnership with The Mastercard Foundation to open educational opportunities to talented but financially disadvantaged African youth through a $45 million grant program.
  • An international collaborative demonstrated MSU’s growing interest and expertise in the research and treatment of cognitive disabilities. The Research in Autism, Intellectual, and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities initiative was created in response to MSU’s work as a founding partner in the DOCTRID Research Institute on autism and intellectual disability. The DOCTRID coalition includes 14 Irish universities and the Daughters of Charity Service in Dublin, Ireland, among other partners. 
  • Building on decades of engagement in Africa, MSU launched a bold new initiative—the Alliance for African Partnership—to develop a collaborative and cross-disciplinary platform for addressing challenges on the continent.
  • Simon has been a member of the executive committee of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa and has spoken to scholarly international gatherings about global food and development issues.
  • MSU currently offers more than 275 education abroad programs in more than 60 countries on all continents, giving students opportunities to advance global learning and disciplinary scholarship.