Back to our thought experiment on what others would offer if the University of Michigan decided it was willing to locate all or parts of its operations anyplace on the planet. In my previous post we established the dollar amount offered would be off the charts. And that most of what Lansing is focused on would be off the table any place else on the planet.
Lets add another Lansing obsession that no one else would insist on in their offer: restricting stem cell research. You must check out a terrific AnnArbor.com article about Sean Morrison who is leaving as director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Michigan. The article’s title: Stem cell star Sean Morrison to GOP: ‘You don’t compete by looking for ways to put stem cell biologists in jail’
Morrison commenting on new reporting requirements in the higher education budget bill said: It’s a way of making it more difficult for the University of Michigan. And it’s unfortunate, because U-M is a spectacular place, and it’s a terrific environment in which to do research, but there are lots of ways in which the Legislature holds this place back.
The Legislature positioned as holding UM back. Trying to put stem cell biologists in jail. Across the planet there is a widespread understanding that places where new knowledge are being created are amazing engines of economic growth. UM is one of those places. And the life sciences are one of the areas where new knowledge creation has unlimited potential both for improving human health and economic growth. And Lansing is putting restrictions on it? Believe me in the offers that would come from across the planet for UM there would be no calls to inhibit stem cell research. Most of the bids would include increased funding. It is the kind of research everyone wants.
To add insult to injury Morrison is taking his work to Texas. Yes ultra Red State, small government, low tax, social conservative Texas. One of the states we are constantly being told Michigan needs to be more like. And Texas apparently not only hassles its stem cell scientists less they are putting billions into the research.
How is it that Texas business and political (Republican) leadership can make stem cell research in particular and new knowledge creation at its public universities a state priority and we can’t? We had better figure this out if we are serious about getting to Michigan 3.0