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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

Michigan Translation Research and Commercialization Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation Hires New Commercialization Program Director


Denise Graves comes with wealth of experience; poised to lead program.

The Michigan Translation Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Commercialization Program Director, Denise Graves

As the Commercialization Program Director for MTRAC Advanced Transportation, Graves supports a wide range of transportation and mobility projects with high commercialization potential across higher education, healthcare and nonprofit institutions. Graves also works closely with U-M faculty innovators, helping them navigate the commercialization and entrepreneurial ecosystems by connecting them with funding support, mentorship and the fostering of industry connections. Her direction and leadership will help develop new technologies and networks to support innovation in the transportation and mobility space.

“My favorite part of my position is engaging with the innovators, learning about their technology and desires to commercialize it,” said Graves on her experience leading MTRAC Advanced Transportation, “I love working with the Innovation Partnerships team to help introduce the innovators to investors, industry partners and the ecosystem for all of the support they may need.”

As a part of Innovation Partnerships, a unit based in the Office of the Vice President for Research, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation provides early-stage funding opportunities, supports proposal development processes, market research and mentorship to translational research projects focused on all types of transportation and mobility. 

Graves joins Innovation Partnerships from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, where she served as a member of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation team and supported statewide programs focused on cross-collaboration and commercialization of early-stage technology across Michigan. Prior to working in economic development and technology commercialization, Graves worked for several years in business development and sales for tech companies across Southeast Michigan.

About the MTRAC Advanced Transportation Innovation Hub

The MTRAC Advanced Transportation Innovation Hub is part of Innovation Partnerships at the University of Michigan. It has a 2023 operating budget of $1.5M with half of the funds coming from the State of Michigan’s Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and the remainder coming from participating institutions. The program reinforces the commitment of the MSF, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and U-M to entrepreneurship as a dynamic catalyst for economic growth, allowing for greater collaboration and ultimately increasing the number of start-ups, jobs, industry licenses and investment for Michigan.