ANN ARBOR, Mich. - U-M's North Campus Research Complex now is the workplace for 1,044 employees.
It’s been less than two years since 30 U-M Medical School Institutional Review Board staffers became the first group to move in to the NCRC on March 29, 2010. . Since then, many more have followed suit, including research support employees, core services like DNA sequencing and microscopy labs, cardiovascular researchers, business development services, including a business accelerator for start-up companies and two public companies, Boropharm and Lycera.
About 150 -160 of the employees working at NCRC are new hires.
"Since that first move-in, we have worked diligently to build NCRC into a vibrant community with help from everyone across the entire campus.
The site feels more and more like a university campus," says David Canter, NCRC’s Executive Director.
"The number of people working and visiting the site has increased markedly. We are moving forward rapidly on our goal of providing a center for innovation, collaboration and translational research. We are happy to celebrate this significant milestone."
U-M purchased the complex in June 2009 for $108 million. The 27-building, 174-acre property was formerly owned by Pfizer, a pharmaceutical giant that had closed its large Ann Arbor operation. At the height of its operation, Pfizer employed about 3,000 people at the site.
When U-M bought the property, it had been vacant for months. Much work and planning went into bringing buildings in storage mode back into use.
A careful planning strategy has resulted in a mix of office and lab uses, along with the highly successful Venture Accelerator that has filled way ahead of schedule with U-M faculty-generated businesses. The Venture Accelerator is operated by the University’s Office of Tech Transfer.
Canter estimates that about one-third of the available space at NCRC is filled.
"We are very proud of the progress made here and of the developing community of people who are dedicated to the research that will lead to improvements in human health," Canter says.
The movement of employees to NCRC from other U-M locations has opened up space in other areas around campus, providing more room for growth for other programs.
“We are thrilled that these incredible facilities are being used again, and that our careful planning process is producing results,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., U-M executive vice president for Medical Affairs and chief executive officer for the U-M Health System.
“This milestone represents the hard work of our planning team and the potential for the future of a site that already has become a place where collaboration spurs new ideas.”
The next big group to move in will be the members of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, which will move into a building currently under renovation. The renovation should be finished in spring 2012.
More than 500 researchers could eventually join the new Institute on the NCRC campus with many more engaging virtually, making it one of the nation’s largest concentrations of healthcare policy and services researchers.
Many U-M researchers currently are involved in ground-breaking studies into the delivery of health care services, including support for patients with chronic conditions, insurance design and preventative care. But the NCRC offers a chance to bring them together, spark collaboration and seek public and private partners also interested in health care delivery.
“It is wonderful to watch this complex develop, witnessing a research community begin to bloom,” says Canter.
More information about NCRC: www.umncrc.org