College of

About MSU Biomedical Research in Grand Rapids

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s expansion to West Michigan was the result of a commitment to partnership and the synergistic outcomes that can only be realized through the combined investments of the university and the community.

Today, the confluence of the completion of the Grand Rapids Research Center, Michigan State University’s Global Impact Initiative, successful community and industry partnerships, and a new dean’s vision for the transformation of health, has set the stage for MSU Grand Rapids Research Center Phase II.

The Grand Rapids Research Center (GRRC) was established to advance MSU’s efforts in improving human health. The first phase of the innovation park was construction of a six-story, 162,800-square-foot facility that opened in the fall of 2017 and houses basic and translational science research teams recruited from around the nation and the world by MSU. The areas of emphasis align with the biggest challenges to the health of our state and our nation including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, women’s health and cancer. 

The Public Private Partnership (P3), which is a long-term ground lease to a private developer, is the mechanism that will enable the construction of a GRRC Phase II facility, which will foster innovation in health care ensuring that discoveries capable of improving human health are brought to patients and families more rapidly. 

Proposed tenants include private industry and health care teams focused on advanced diagnosis and treatment for cancer, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders; development of medical devices that improve patient access, affordability and outcomes; as well as augmented intelligence and machine learning efforts. 

The facility will enable synergies between academic medicine, health care delivery systems and private industries that are passionate about transforming health. The facility will also provide space to accommodate the growth of the human health research teams that exist in the GRRC and on MSU’s East Lansing campus. 


  • In February 2005, a group of “stakeholders” came together to explore the concept of a four-year medical school in West Michigan. Stakeholders included Michigan State University, Spectrum Health, Mercy Health (Saint Mary’s Health Care), Van Andel Institute, Grand Valley State University, Grand Action and The Right Place, Inc.
  • Based on the findings of a compelling economic impact study, the stakeholders formed work groups to formulate a comprehensive Proof of Concept that was endorsed by both MSU and the stakeholders.
  • Included in the Proof of Concept was the College of Human Medicine’s vision for research:

    • Establish a research portfolio in Grand Rapids by recruiting scientific teams that are aligned with community and partners;
    • Expand clinical and translational research;
    • Emphasize external NIH funding.
  • Beginning in 2006, MSU developed agreements with key partners to support research and medical education. As part of its long-range plan, MSU would lease wet lab space while it recruited a critical mass of scientists to warrant its own research space.
  • From 2008 – 2010, the medical’s school’s expansion doubled its class size, from 400 to 800 medical students, and established the headquarters for the college at the new, $90M, privately-funded Secchia Center. It also stimulated the rapid growth of biomedical research in Grand Rapids.
  • Initially, newly-recruited MSU research teams were housed at Van Andel Institute and Grand Valley State University. However, escalating growth at both institutions, coupled by the lack of available wet lab space in Grand Rapids, pressed MSU forward to build its own research facility to support future growth.
  • In 2012, MSU acquired the former Grand Rapids Press site and neighboring properties in downtown Grand Rapids. The prime location at the base of the Medical Mile - and near the Secchia Center - offered unprecedented opportunities for MSU to both create a new research facility and to also consider complementary projects with industry and health partners on the remainder of the site that could support MSU’s vision for reinventing health and the commercialization of science.
  • At its June 2013 meeting, the MSU Board of Trustees authorized the MSU administration to plan for the development of the newly acquired Grand Rapids property. The initial planning focused on addressing the immediate need for research space.
  • In its planning stage, the new Grand Rapids Research Center (GRRC) project was evaluated against both a traditional, university delivery model and a less traditional, Public Private Partnership (P3), delivery model. Ultimately, the university’s low-cost capital drove the decision toward a traditional build, a philanthropically supported and debt-financed model.
  • Construction of the GRRC began in 2015 and was completed in late 2017. The research facility was finished to initially house 33 research teams, 26 of which previously housed at VAI, with space for future growth of up to 44 principal investigators and their teams (approximately 250+ employees).
  • Continuing under the 2013 authorization to plan, MSU administration evaluated how to best accomplish GRRC Phase II. After considering many factors, including who will occupy GRRC Phase II and operational demands and cost of capital, it was determined that GRRC Phase II would best be developed by using a P3 delivery model.
  • Tentative timeline for GRRC Phase II is construction groundbreaking in fall 2019, with anticipated opening in fall 2021.