REI funds several types of projects: Co-Learning Projects, which are researched and written by professionals; Co-Implementation Plans, which are led by Innovation Fellows; and Student-Led, Faculty-Guided Technical Assistance projects, which are researched and written by student teams at Michigan universities and colleges. Visit the Completed Projects page for examples of these types of work and visit the Submit an Application page for timelines and to apply for funding.
Co-Learning is a process in which multiple parties collaborate to generate new knowledge. In a Co-Learning Project, innovative economic development tools, models, strategies, policies, and practices are researched, and the findings and recommendations serve as a key resource for economic development practitioners and policymakers in Michigan. Co-Learning Plans can be written by practitioners, decision-makers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, scholars, or other stakeholders. Co-Learning authors are expected to conduct research, engage in Co-Learning with peers, write a Co-Learning Plan, develop a dissemination plan, identify potential Innovation Fellows, and present at the Innovate Michigan! Summit.
Co-Learning Plan selection is a competitive process. REI typically funds up to four Co-Learning Projects each year, and authors receive up to $8,000 in support. Visit the Submit an Application page to apply for funding.
The Innovation Fellows Program seeks to incorporate the tools, models, and policies identified in Co-Learning Projects into practice in communities around Michigan. The Innovation Fellows program was established in 2016 to attract and support top champions in communities and organizations to tackle the tough economic development issues that our distressed communities face every day. Innovation Fellows provide on-the-ground support and coordination to move concepts to actions, implementing new economic development tools, models, and policies. Innovation Fellows, recruited by REI, its partners, Economic Development Districts (EDDs), and past Co-Learning Project leaders will identify recommendations in past Co-Learning Projects to serve as current and practical information for local and state economic development practitioners and policymakers as they consider important decisions for Michigan communities and regions.
Innovation Fellows are funded through a competitive award process to which only serious, dedicated individuals should apply. Visit the Submit an Application page to apply for funding.
Student-Led, Faculty-Guided projects provide assistance to Michigan communities in completing local and regional economic development initiatives. Work is completed by students at colleges and universities throughout the state, under the supervision of experienced faculty. Through these projects, students gain firsthand and practical experience in the application of previously studied theory, and economic development professionals receive technical assistance that might not otherwise be available. Projects typically include data collection, analysis, and the development of plans and implementation strategies.
Technical Assistance selection is a competitive process. REI typically funds ten or more semester-long projects each year. Students are expected to write a report, conduct a webinar, and present at the annual Innovate Michigan! Summit. Visit the Submit an Application page to apply for funding.
Do you have an innovative idea for improving Michigan's economy, but aren't interested in applying for funding? Suggest an Idea!