With a network of pre-eminent institutions, the Ann Arbor region is an established destination for research and development initiatives. 

The compilation of tech industries and academic powerhouses makes Ann Arbor a key player in research and development. On the national scale, Ann Arbor is ranked as one of the most educated cities in America with some of the best universities leading the way. The University of Michigan alone spends 1.6B in research and development annually ranking first among public universities nationally for R&D

R&D efforts across the state are spearheaded by the University Research Corridor, a university alliance between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University devoted to the economic prosperity of the region. In the past ten years, the region has fostered more than 249 startup companies and continues to be a national trailblazer even above competitive regions like the North Carolina research triangle and Silicon Valley. 

State-of-the-art research facilities exist at top-tier companies in the Ann Arbor region and continue to drive innovation. Mobility leaders with long-term roots in the area such as Toyota Motor North America, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz all house advanced research and development centers. The German-owned chemical company, Wacker, opened its Silicones R&D Center at the co-work campus of the Michigan Innovation Headquarters (MI-HQ). Additionally, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs houses one of 18 national R&D centers at the VA Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR)

Ann Arbor SPARK Services and Resources

Contact the business development team

Business Development and Site Selector Services 

Ann Arbor SPARK works closely with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan Works! Southeast, local municipalities, and other partners to facilitate business location and growth within the region. Our team can help make meaningful connections as well as identify office space and the skilled talent you need to achieve your goals.

Startup and Business Acceleration Resources

Join our startup incubator.

The SPARK entrepreneurial services team works closely with early-stage startups to expedite their success. A reliable advocate to help founders navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem, SPARK offers desk space at our incubators in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, business accelerator grants to help achieve significant product development milestones, and mentoring opportunities with the area’s experienced business leaders. We’ve also teamed up with the Michigan Small Business Development Center to help our qualified clients apply for the Michigan Emerging Technologies Fund.

In addition to avenues for funding, SPARK initiatives promote collaborative programs in the region. For example, a2Tech360 is an annual weeklong series of events, featuring the region’s companies and leaders. Included in the lineup is the opportunity for angel investors and venture capitalists to hear pitches from early-stage startups during Invest360: Investor Showcase.

Recent Industry Projects in Southeast Michigan

Regional R&D Employers

Company NameRegional EmployeesR&D Field
Toyota Motor North America Research and Development (TMNA R&D)1,400+Advanced Automotive
Terumo Cardiovascular Group1,100Life Sciences
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Proving Grounds680+Advanced Automotive
Hyundai America Technical Center250Advanced Automotive
NSK Americas, Inc.300+Advanced Automotive
Wacker North American Headquarters16Advanced Materials
PIDC80Manufacturing
Navitas Advanced Solutions Group170Alternative Energy
Mitsubishi Motors R&D28Advanced Automotive
Mercedes-Benz Emission Test Lab40Advanced Automotive
American Center for Mobility7+Advanced Automotive
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health105Life Sciences
A&D Technology, Inc.100Advanced Automotive
IMRA America, Inc.78Advanced Automotive
AVL Ann Arbor Technical Center60Advanced Automotive

Build and Grow in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor SPARK helps companies looking to grow, expand, or relocate find a space that suits their needs. From work environments at the SPARK Central Innovation Center in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor to commercial real estate options throughout the region, Ann Arbor SPARK has the resources and connections to facilitate your site selection.

Apply to Join our Startup Incubator

A member of the Ann Arbor SPARK entrepreneurial services team will be in touch to discuss how we can help bring your idea to life. This is the first step in participating in our Entrepreneur Boot Camp, becoming a client of one of our incubators, and getting introduced to our growing network of mentors and consultants. We can’t wait to connect with you!