Ann Arbor, Michigan
based on results, not
press exposure, experts say
BY ELAINE LAFAY
Daily Staff Reporter
For all the research that goes on at the University,
it's rare that a new scientific discovery hits the front
page of national newspapers. Although the attention
can boost the prestige of an institution, University
officials say it takes much more than that to develop
research that makes headlines.
In the fall of 2007, University researchers led by
Chemical engineering Prof. Nicholas Kotov devel-
oped Plasteel - atransparent, lightweight plastic-like
material with a toughness that experts say is ideal for
military armor. The discovery made Wired maga-
zine's "Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2007."
Ellen Arruda, professor of mechanical engineering
and a member of the team that developed the mate-
rial, said the project's inclusion in Wired will increase
the University's prominence in the field of nanotech-
In the long run, though, the accolade probably
won't affect the University's research funding, she
Media coverage often has more of an impact on
the end result of research than on its initial funding,
said Ken Nisbet, executive director of the University's
Office of Technology Transfer, which helps Univer-
sity researchers market their ideas to investors.
"When Professor Kotov won his original grant, it
had nothing to do with any Top 10 list," he said. "It's
more the capabilities of researchers and research labs
at the University that wins these research grants."
Nisbet said media coverage becomes more impor-
tant once research produces a new technology to
"The media is very important to publicize the
opportunities, resources, new discoveries and the
people who are here to work with them," Nisbet said.
"It's not always easy to connect with people in the
marketplace and we're trying to use all sorts of meth-
ods to get out to people."
University researchers routinely compete with
researchers from other colleges for funding, partic-
ularly from the federal government. Nesbit said the
amount of funding a research university is granted
largely depends on how well their research is received
by investors within the scientific community - not
the mainstream media.
About $679.9 million of the approximately $800
million invested in research last year was covered by
Most of the University's funding comes from gov-
ernment agencies like the National Institutes of
Health and the Office of Naval Research. There is
also gap funding, where the University funds part of a
project to make it more marketable to outside compa-
nies, tailoring it to a company's needs.
Because gap funding is much harder to find, the
University usually ends up covering the cost. Only a
small percentage of funding comes from outside com-
panies, Nisbet said.
See RESEARCH, Page 7A
e 1Midigan Baili
Monday, January 14, 2008
* CAMPAIGN 2008 *
Presidentical candidate Mike Huckabee speaks at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids Saturday morning after a breakfast with local pastors.
GOP hopefiuls court.,\ich.
Candidates vow to
fix state s economy
By ANDY KROLL speeches on how they would help res-
and JULIE ROWE idents deal with high unemployment
Daily StaffReporters and low wages if they were elected.
Plans are mixed
for higher. ed.
By JULIE ROWE As they campaigned in Michigan
Daily StaffReporter this weekend, the three Republican
frontrunners spoke about how they
There's a growing consensus would change the country's educa-
around the idea that if Michigan is tion system if elected.
With the Michigan primary only
a day away, Republican presidential
candidates have made numerous
campaign stops in Michigan, which is
strugglingalongwith the once-boom-
ing auto industry that drove it for so
many years. The state ended last year
with the nation's highest unemploy-
ment rate in November: 7.4 percent.
The rest of the country averaged 4.7
percent. And the recent subprime
mortgage crisis has hit Michigan
especially hard, leading to an uptick
in foreclosures in an area where the
housing market was already slow.
All weekend, the Republican
presidential hopefuls focused their
At a speech Friday before the
Detroit Economic Club at the historic
Masonic Temple, Republican presi-
dential candidate Mike Huckabee
said a federal government with him
at the helm would change federal
tax policies and regulatory systems
in order to save Michigan's ailing
If elected, the former Arkansas
governor said, he would work to elim-
inate federal, personal and corporate
income taxes and replace them with
a single consumption tax much like
states' existing retail taxes.
See ECONOMY, Page 8A
going to flourish without the domi-
nance of the Detroit automakers,
it's going to need to expand access
to higher education. And more and
more jobs in the United States are
beginning to require more educa-
But it's also getting harder for
many to attend college. The cost of
college jumped nearly 11 percent
last year. Meager state funding hikes
have forced universities in Michigan
to raise tuition to keep up with ris-
ing costs throughout the economy.
Republican presidential candi-
date Mike Huckabee said Friday
at the Masonic Temple in Detroit
that he would help young Ameri-
cans get the education they need to
"have a shot at the American dream."
Huckabee, a former governor of
Arkansas, said Michigan residents
are struggling through a recession
partly because many who lost jobs in
the automotive industry didn't have
See HIGHER ED, Page 7A
THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ON THE MICHIGAN ECONOMY:
"I want to make sure that Washington "There's gonna be hybrid ca
finally does something," Romney said. gonna be hydrogen, there'st
"if Im elected President of the United ethanol, heresgnna be ba
States, I will use 25years ofbusiness chasgewe'regosna reduce
experience and economicexpenience to denesonforeignoil atd if's
ROMN reigtethe Michigan economy. MCCCAIN in Michigan."
FOR MORE INFORMATION...
Includingfthe Daily's blog of events and exclusive multimedia content, see
MCCAIN AT MICHIGAN STATE
John McCain held a town hall meeting in East Lansing yesterday.
NEWS, PAGE 3A.
Student groups kick off 40 days of prayer
Christian groups unite in
effort to show power of
By JILLIAN BERMAN
Engineering senior Israel Vicars didn't think it was
a coincidence when he walked by a drunken girl who
had fallen over in a parking lot and desperately needed
Vicars attributes his ability to safely return the girl
to her residence hall to the power of united prayer.
Fostering that united prayer is what the campus pro-
gram 40 Days of Prayer is all about.
Thursday night, about 150 students crowded the
sanctuary of the University Lutheran Chapel to kickoff
what will be over a month of ongoing prayer. BENi DELL/Daiy
With more than 10 campus Christian groups the sec- Students gather in the University Lutheran Chapel late Thursday night to begin the
See PRAYER, Page 8A 40 Days of Prayer event.
The candidates visit southeast Michigan
Who: Mitt Romney
What: Speech at the Detroit
Where: Marriott Renaissance,
Who: Dennis Kucinich
Where: the University's Natural
When: 2:30 p.m.
Who: Mike Huckabee
Where: GM Willow Run Plant,
When: 3:30 p.m.
Who: Sen. Joe Lieberman
What: Rally for John McCain
Where: McKinley Town Center,
When: 7:15 p.m.
SOURCE: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Who: John McCain
What: Ann Arbor Economic
Club town hall meeting
Where: Marriott Eagle
When: 12:15 p.m.
W hat: Elec-
Where: Embassy Suites
When: 7:30 p.m.
TODAY'S H1: 33
WEATHER Lo: 28
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ON THE DAILY BLOGS
Following GOP hopefuls on the campaign trail
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