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WSU, TechTown, NextEnergy team up on urban tech

Wayne State University invested $6.6 million last month to acquire the NextEnergy Building in Detroit and will use the building in part to create an urban technology innovation consortium.

The university, along with its startup incubator TechTown and NextEnergy, will form Detroit Urban Solutions, with the intent of studying and solving urban issues through the use of mobility, energy, digital health and civic technologies, said Ned Staebler, vice president of economic development for Wayne State and president and CEO of TechTown.

Staebler said the consortium is designed to act like an air-traffic controller for research and work in these fields done by its members, creating a more unified approach.

"We're taking these existing assets, whether it's Wayne State or NextEnergy or TechTown or Techstars and more efficiently use them to create solutions," Staebler said. "Prior, things were disjointed. We're stronger together."


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