Campus briefs


Fifteen U-M teams awarded PODS grants through MIDAS

The Michigan Institute for Data Science recently announced its first round of Propelling Original Data Science grant winners from U-M, which included 15 interdisciplinary teams from nine schools across the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses. The projects, all of which have data science as a common thread, range from detecting patterns of illicit wildlife trade networks to reducing safety threats on social media to understanding the energy sources of the universe. MIDAS will provide $860,000 in funding for these projects, with an additional $220,000 in cost-sharing funds coming from U-M departments and faculty. This round of funding encourages pioneering work based on innovative concepts that promise high reward, major impact, promotion of public interest and potential for major expansion. For a list of the awardees and to learn more about the grants, visit

U-M releases annual faculty and staff salary report

Faculty salary increases at the U-M Ann Arbor campus for 2019-20 averaged 2.9 percent, according to figures for the university’s salary report, which was released Dec. 9. Salary increases for staff averaged 3.1 percent. Merit salary increases for executive officers averaged 3.06 percent. Merit increases for deans averaged 3.46 percent. The 2019-20 Faculty and Staff Salary Disclosure Report is now available on the Human Resources website.

Taco Bell among the food options when Michigan Union re-opens

The Michigan Union will have a Taco Bell when it reopens Jan. 13 following an 18-month, $85.2 million renovation. The fast food restaurant will be on the ground floor and join several other previously announced food vendors, including Panera Bread, Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, MI Burger, Mama DeLuca’s, Blue Market, Panda Express and Subway. The Union will also be home to several retail vendors, including Barnes & Noble, the U-M Credit Union, the U-M Tech Shop (formerly Computer Showcase), PNC ATM and the Michigan Union Ticket Office. The Taco Bell franchise will be operated by Grand Blanc-based Great Lakes Taco, LLC.

U-M, MSU to host conference on women’s suffrage

The Institute for Research on Women and Gender at U-M and Michigan State University’s Center for Gender in Global Context and Department of History will jointly present the Gender, Women’s Suffrage, and Political Power: Past, Present, and Future conference Nov. 19-21, 2020, in Lansing. The conference will bring together academics and activists to explore the history of women’s suffrage and political power, as well as the future possibilities for expanding gender equity in political participation and representation in the United States and around the world. Conference organizers are accepting proposals through March 6 for individual papers, panels, individual discussion sessions and conversational discussion panels. Possible topics could include women’s political leadership, race, class, sexuality and disability within movements for women’s rights. For more information, visit the event website.

Precision Health Investigators Awards fund seven teams

Precision Health has announced the seven recipients of its 2019 Investigators Awards. Awardees will receive $300,000 in funding over two years to support health research. The research projects will explore a variety of topics, from how to prevent postpartum hemorrhaging to the development of algorithms for personalized balance training for older adults. Click here for a full list of recipients and more details about the projects.

Scientists make vampire bats ‘glow’ to simulate vaccine spread

Glowing fluorescent gel helped U-M scientists and their colleagues at the University of Glasgow discover that a low-effort vaccination program could substantially reduce rabies transmission in wild vampire bats, thereby reducing the risk of lethal infections in humans and livestock. The gel, which contained a fluorescent tracer dye called Rhodamine B, was applied to wild vampire bats at three colonies in Peru, where it simulated the bat-to-bat spread of an orotopical rabies vaccine. The study demonstrated that because of bat-to-bat transfer, orotopical rabies vaccines would protect 2.6 bats for every bat that is vaccinated. The study was published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

WOCAP seeks Shirley Verrett Award nominations

The Women of Color in the Academy Project is seeking nominations for the annual Shirley Verrett Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose work — teaching, performance and scholarship or service — supports the success of female students or faculty in the arts who come from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. Established in 2012, the award honors the late Shirley Verrett, James Earl Jones Distinguished University Professor of Voice, School of Music, Theatre & Dance. It is open to all tenured or tenure-track faculty, lecturers and clinical faculty at U-M’s Ann Arbor campus, and carries a $5,000 prize. Nominations are due Jan. 22 and can be submitted at this Google form. The Shirley Verrett Award Celebration will be April 2. For more information, visit

Compiled by Ann Zaniewski, The University Record


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