Campus briefs


Voices of the Staff accepting applications through April 30

University of Michigan staff are encouraged to help shape the future of their workplace by applying to join Voices of the Staff, the long-standing U-M employee engagement program for staff from Michigan Medicine and every academic campus. It brings together 120 staff members to help drive workplace improvement for all. In 2021, the latest challenge facing the staff community is how to reimagine what the workplace will be in the near-term and beyond. The Voices team will be a great resource as the university continues to develop the “Future of Work.” Interested staff must apply for membership by April 30. Those who have at least one year of employment are invited to speak to their supervisors to obtain support for participation and apply. Learn more about Voices of the Staff or view its 2020 annual report.

Two projects led by U-M receive funding from Department of Defense

Two projects led by U-M have been funded with the latest round of Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives, backed by the U.S. Department of Defense. A project to improve the reliability of engines that fly more than five times the speed of sound will receive $7.5 million, and $6.25 million will fund an effort to produce liquid fuel and fertilizer with solar power. Venkat Raman, professor of aerospace engineering, is leading the hypersonic flight project in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, Purdue University and the University of Queensland in Australia. Zetian Mi, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, is leading the artificial photosynthesis project that includes groups at Yale, Illinois at U-C, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as two other U-M groups led by Ted Norris, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Manos Kioupakis, professor of materials science and engineering. For more on these projects.

Annual RNA symposium to help ‘process’ RNA discoveries

The U-M Center for RNA Biomedicine will host its fifth annual symposium, titled “Processing RNA,” from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. March 25-26. The event will be virtual and live on Zoom and will not be recorded. It is free and open to all, although registration is required. MiSciWriters will blog about the event at RNA research shapes revolutionary scientific paths, from fundamental science discoveries in the labs to powerful biomedical applications for patients. The rapid rise of RNA-guided genome editing tools and mRNA-based vaccinations demonstrate the tremendous impact of such breakthroughs. To help “process” these advances, the Center for RNA Biomedicine organized its 2021 symposium on topics ranging from RNA processing to RNA structure and CRISPR tools. For a schedule and list of keynote speakers, visit

Human research accreditation visit set for March 23-24

The university will host a virtual site visit March 23-24 with the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs to evaluate and reaccredit U-M’s Human Research Protections Program. The site visit will involve virtual interview sessions with select study team representatives from across U-M’s three campuses and the health system, the U-M HRRP units and Institutional Review Boards, as well as a documentation review process. The visit culminates a two-year preparation process led by the Office of Research Compliance Review in which a detailed self-evaluation of U-M’s HRPP program was conducted. AAHRPP accreditation demonstrates that U-M strives to protect human research participants through the continual improvement of the ethical and professional conduct of research. Visit the AAHRPP Re-accreditation webpage.

Applications sought for awards to support precision health research

The Precision Health Investigators Awards program anticipates funding up to eight two-year awards in 2021 to support the development of precision health science, tools and datasets. Funding available per project may total up to $200,000. The awards are open to U-M full-time faculty members with a primary appointment in research, instructional (tenure), or clinical tracks. Pre-proposals are due by May 12. Find complete information about the awards and how to apply at

Ross students among first-place finishers in 2021 Michigan Business Challenge

After competing through multiple rounds, undergraduate and graduate students at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and across U-M pitched their entrepreneurial ventures to win cash prizes during this year’s Michigan Business Challenge. Two teams of Ross students won first-place prizes in the Innovation and Invention tracks, each receiving $15,000. Presented by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, MBC is an annual campuswide business-plan competition that exposes students to a rigorous, multi-phase business development and planning process. Held virtually this year, MBC attracted 70 student teams across a wide variety of disciplines from business to medicine, engineering and law. For more on the competition.

— Compiled by James Iseler and Jeff Bleiler, The University Record


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