Roundup: Fuyao, WSU Translational Research, Deadlines Galore & More

Here’s a look at innovation news from around Michigan:

Wayne State University has appointed Phillip Levy, a doctor and professor of emergency medicine, to head up its new Translational Science and Clinical Research Innovation program. Housed in WSU’s Integrative Biosciences Center, the Center for Translational Science and Clinical Research Innovation will become the hub of campus-wide clinical research aimed at improving healthcare in Detroit and southeast Michigan.

The center will also be a focal point for university faculty to work with funding agencies and industry partners to design and operate clinical research studies. The program’s ultimate goal is to work with community advisory boards to determine the direction of the university’s clinical research, helping to “ensure that studies and discoveries are applicable and available to community members,” the university said in a press release.

“We’re looking at a completely different vision: fully integrating a community and university to solve health care disparities and inequities,” Levy said in a statement. “We will have all oars rowing in the same direction. This includes our partner health care systems and the city of Detroit, with whom we are now collaborating on a number of initiatives.”

Fuyao Automotive, China’s largest supplier of glass for the automotive industry, will invest more than $66 million to improve a 528,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth. The company is getting a $1 million, performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund to support the project, which is expected to create 533 jobs. The property, the largest industrial site in Plymouth, dates back to the 1950s and formerly housed Western Electric and, most recently, FedEx. To receive information about job openings at Fuyao’s Plymouth plant, send an e-mail to jobs@fuyaousa.com.

White Pine Software Technologies has been awarded a $10,000 Innovate Ypsi grant to bolster the information technology infrastructure and fiber internet access at its new office in downtown Ypsilanti. Founded in 2014, the company recently moved into the office after a stint in the Ann Arbor SPARK East incubator. White Pine provides data management and analysis to the engineering and computer science industries.

“The Innovate Ypsi award we received enabled us to upgrade a historic downtown building into a beautiful, high-tech facility and keep this young company in Ypsilanti,” said Robert Smith, White Pine’s president, in a statement. “This is a win for all of us.”

The performance-based Innovate Ypsi grants are available to qualified businesses that create jobs and make new investment in Eastern Washtenaw County.

—This week, Ford announced it will be the first automaker to test 3D printing in the making of cars. Using the Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printer, Ford will explore how large one-piece auto parts, like car spoilers, could be printed for prototyping and future production vehicles. The pilot will be conducted at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn.

According to a press release, Ford hopes 3D printing will offer significant savings in time and money, producing lighter-weight parts that improve fuel efficiency. A 3D-printed spoiler, for instance, may weigh less than half of its metal-cast equivalent. Ford also could use the technology to make larger printed tooling and fixtures, as well as personalized components for customers.

Michigan State University’s Conquer accelerator is seeking alumni interested in providing feedback to startups by volunteering to serve as pitch coaches and demo week judges. Pitch coaches need a background in areas such as product development, venture capital, or marketing to provide feedback to all five teams during a half-day session. Demo week judges will attend demo week events in Lansing, Grand Rapids, or Ann Arbor/Detroit to provide coaching and feedback to Conquer teams.

If you would like to participate, contact Christopher Sell at sellchri@msu.edu.

—The Small Company Internship Award program (SCIA), which provides funding to help small businesses hire university students to work as interns, is now accepting applications. Targeted especially toward Michigan businesses working in a science, technology, engineering or math field, the SCIA program is designed to increase students’ exposure to innovative processes and products while encouraging them to stay in Michigan after graduation. To be eligible for the SCIA program, companies must be based in Michigan with significant business operations in the state. Companies looking to hire interns will receive 50 percent of what they pay their intern, up to $3,500. Applications are first come, first served; contact lfischer@spartaninnovations.org with questions.

Challenge Detroit is a fellowship program that places 30 young professionals from across the country at Detroit companies, where they work and spend one day each week on community projects designed to formulate solutions to the city’s biggest challenges. The program is accepting applications for its next cohort until March 12; click here to apply.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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