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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

University Collaboration with DoD Aims to Strengthen National Security, Spur Technologies


The Office of the Vice President for Research has launched a new collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in an effort to expand communities of innovators that will work together to identify solutions to important national security challenges.

Through this collaboration the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), a DoD program focused on connecting academia and industry to solve national security problems, will place a University Program Director at the University of Michigan. U-M will be the 14th university to partner with the NSIN, joining universities like U-C Berkeley and others, and will be the second university in the Great Lakes Region. This regional collaboration will strengthen the university’s efforts to partner with local industry to solve national security issues and create economic opportunity.

As part of this new partnership with NSIN, Len Haidl recently joined U-M as its inaugural university program director. Haidl, who participated in the U-M Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, will collaborate with local high technology, startup and venture capital communities to help strengthen partnerships between them, DoD and U-M. Haidl previously served as an adjunct professor at Trine University.

The U-M Office of Technology Transfer, a unit based in the Office of the Vice President for Research, will host Haidl and will facilitate connections within the innovation ecosystem to create opportunities for U-M innovators to collaboratively work on and solve national security problems. Solutions will be fostered through coursework, exposure to University resources and expertise, and the creation of ventures. Mr. Haidl will act as the liaison for the Department of Defense and the U-M with the local high technology, startup, and venture capital communities for the development of collaboration opportunities and potential partnerships.

The National Security Innovation Network’s mission is to “build networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems.” National Security Innovation Network is headquartered in Arlington, Va., and has regional offices in 11 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs and embedded university partnerships, National Security Innovation Network builds a national network of innovators and delivers programming that solves real-world, Department of Defense problems through collaborative partnerships with nontraditional problem solvers within the academic and early-stage venture communities.