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Posted on Sun, Oct 17, 2010 : 5:36 a.m.

Business Review's Top 5: Reasons to celebrate U-M's new nanotech research center

By Staff

Federal officials joined the University of Michigan in late September in announcing that U-M will start construction of a $46 million, 63,000-square-foot research facility called the Center of Excellence in Nano Mechanical Science & Engineering. Here are our top 5 reasons that we see to celebrate this news:

1. U-M research and spinoffs already are highly engaged in nanotechnology: This move cements their respective places in growing the research and prominence for the state.

2. It puts a larger project in the U-M construction pipeline: Washtenaw County’s construction had been bracing for a falloff in work as U-M’s major building projects come to a close. With few new projects to take their place, this center will keep many employed in the building trades - and related services - working until the building is completed in 2012.

3. It’s not at the North Campus Research Complex : The significance for the ex-Pfizer campus will be huge, but it is still taking shape, as U-M determines the functions for the 2 million square feet of buildings and buildable land. And it would have been easy to look for space there for this project. But since this project fits the existing North Campus, giving it proximity to existing labs was a good call and good use of the current campus.

4. It will set an example for interdisciplinary research : Building collaborations across departments is a goal for U-M and the nature of this effort sets its up to be an example both on campus and across the nation.

5. The investment is part of a national effort : Four other new research facilities will be built in the U.S. as part of the federal award. It’s another area where U-M has landed at the top among a prestigious group of new research efforts.