First, UMTRI has the expertise, equipment, and facilities needed to solve problems that industry and government face at a reasonable price. There are areas in which UMTRI has done more research than anyone else. UMTRI's strength is in conducting high quality, basic, and applied research studies that will have impact on a wide range of products over a long period of time. Our sponsors (customers) tell us our research results help them solve the real-world design problems they face.
Second, we are easy to get to, so sponsors will not spend much money or time traveling to visit us. UMTRI is within an hour's drive of the headquarters of all 3 major domestic automotive manufacturers. Further, most foreign manufacturers have offices in Ann Arbor or near by to support activities associated with the Environmental Protection Agency emission certification laboratory. For those not in the area, it takes about 30 minutes to get to UMTRI from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. (See our map page or the UMTRI map page for directions.) Sponsors are encouraged to observe the research as it is conducted and to meet with us in person to discuss it.
Third, UMTRI researchers offer an independent perspective. Often when various groups (e.g., engineering, design staff, marketing, safety group, etc.) in major corporations, or when industry and government have conflicting views of human factors issues, they turn to UMTRI for assistance.
Fourth, while Michigan is a research university, its primary mission is to educate students. More automotive industry engineers have graduated from the University of Michigan than from any other university in the world. Student participation in UMTRI research gives students and the staff exposure to the sponsor. Because we are concerned about the successful placement of our graduates, we can recommend people for employment only to groups with which we are familiar.
Fifth, supporting research at the University enhances the company's image. This indicates to consumers that the sponsor is sufficiently interested in the safety and ease-of-use of its products to support research on those issues.