New OVPR funding program aims to support, catalyze research


The Office of the Vice President for Research has developed a new funding program that aims to catalyze research and spur innovation across the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.

The Research Catalyst and Innovation Program features four new funding mechanisms that total more than $1.5 million in annual research support to drive innovation and catalyze multidisciplinary research.

The program also helps teams leverage internal investments to then seek more external support through increased collaboration among OVPR, its research development team and the schools and colleges across U-M.

“We have tremendous expertise and innovation taking place across our three campuses, and so this new funding program was developed so that we can support important research and scholarship activity,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

RCI replaces the Faculty Grants and Awards Program, which OVPR managed for more than 20 years. As part of RCI, researchers across the three U-M campuses are eligible to apply as early as next month for some of these new funding opportunities.

OVPR plans to award up to six grants during the 2021-22 fiscal year that support research teams working on large-scale, external grant proposals. These grants each range from $50,000 to $100,000, and teams can use this support for advanced planning and proposal readiness in response to new calls for funding opportunities that exceed $5 million.

OVPR also will offer annual funding around a research priority area that, for fiscal years ’21 and ’22 will support research and scholarship that address racial inequality and racial justice.

The annual theme grants will provide more than $750,000 in funding over two years, with individual awards ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. These grants are initially being offered in collaboration with the Provost’s Office as part of its anti-racism initiative.

“There are a number of complex challenges facing our society and so, as a research community, we often have to transition quickly so that our teams can use their knowledge to best address the most pressing issues,” said Tabbye Chavous, associate vice president for research-social sciences, humanities and the arts, and professor of psychology and education.

“The new OVPR annual theme grants allow us to support researchers across our three campuses so that, together, we can work toward addressing these critical challenges and building institutional capacity in these areas.”

Other new funding opportunities involve collaboration among OVPR and the research associate deans representing schools and colleges across U-M.

OVPR will provide funding to accelerate research and strengthen innovative methods of grant-development activity within the schools and colleges, supporting research associate deans in working with their teams to identify critical needs that address their unit priorities.

“This new program not only supports the incredible breadth and depth of research, creative practice and scholarship within our schools and colleges. It fosters collaboration across disciplines and yields valuable resources so that our teams can advance their important work,” said Jane Prophet, associate dean for research, creative work and strategic initiatives at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design.


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