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iLabs Celebrates 10 Years

October 4, 2016

The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research, iLabs, celebrated its 10 year anniversary this summer.

It was a night of celebration for students, faculty, and external partners from the last 10 years. Housed within the College of Business, iLabs was established as a research institute in 2006 with the mission to advance the understanding of corporate, entrepreneurial, and institutional innovation and its impact on economic development.

Tracing back to its roots in 2002, COB Marketing Professor Kim Shatzel worked with a single student on an independent study project. Students continued to track this project and improve it each year. By 2006 student researchers began to work on their first regional project, eCities, which examines municipalities on how well they encourage economic development and entrepreneurship.  Around this time external partners began to approach the College for help on other projects, and in the summer of 2006 the iLabs brand was officially born.

Since then almost 200 students have engaged with the research center. iLabs is widely known for its expertise in collecting data to help governments, non-profits, and businesses make strategic decisions. Its work has been featured in the media and has been shared with leaders in government and industry. In addition, iLabs has created multiple external partnerships with research and analytics companies where a number of alumni are currently employed.

“Engaging with external partners has enhanced the experience and provided resources for students to earn a bit more than class credit,” said Tim Davis, Director of iLabs. “Our partners mentor students, offer students the opportunity to conduct research, and even provide scholarship support.  In addition, they have also directly engaged more than a dozen faculty on projects supporting these students.”

As iLabs celebrated the last ten years, they look forward to developing new ventures and partnerships in the future. Have a business challenge you’re not sure how to approach? Our faculty and student researchers can conduct customized research, develop strategic goals and identify opportunities that create value for your organization. Learn more about iLabs and find out how you can get involved.

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