New pandemic relief programs offer funding to support faculty


The Provost’s Office and the Office of the Vice President for Research have each launched new programs to financially support faculty whose research, scholarship and creative practice have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provost Susan M. Collins and Vice President for Research Rebecca Cunningham announced their new support programs Feb. 15 in an email to faculty across the Ann Arbor campus.

“We are now two years into this pandemic, and the University of Michigan community has navigated through personal and professional hardship that has been both relentless and unpredictable,” wrote Collins, who also is executive vice president for academic affairs.

“Our goal in developing these programs is to help you move beyond the challenges that the last two years have brought. Our hope is that this support will contribute to your personal wellbeing, too.”

In recent months, the Provost’s Office and OVPR have drawn on the reporting of the ADVANCE Program and organized a series of focus groups, listening sessions and surveys to identify key challenges that continue to impact faculty wellbeing and productivity. The feedback inspired the development and implementation of these two programs designed to support faculty at critical stages in their careers.

The Provost’s Early Tenure-Track Faculty Research Support Initiative provides flexible funds to support tenure-track faculty from the Ann Arbor campus as they undertake research, scholarship and creative practice that has been slowed or postponed by the constraints of the pandemic.

Tenure-track assistant professors and tenure-track associate professors who are not yet tenured are eligible to receive up to $3,000. Tenure-track associate professors who are within four years of being awarded tenure are eligible for up to $1,500.

Funding made available through the Provost’s Office initiative can be used to support a wide array of activities, including travel, data collection, editorial or research assistance, and collaborations or consultations with colleagues.

The OVPR Pandemic Relief Program is for research-focused faculty at the early associate and assistant ranks across all tracks at the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. It provides flexible relief funds for a variety of purposes — from data collection costs, research equipment and supplies to support for graduate students and research assistants.

Assistant professors who meet OVPR eligibility requirements can receive up to $3,000, and eligible associate professors can receive up to $15,000.

Based on feedback from the university community, OVPR also will implement no-cost extensions across all of its internal grant programs that were awarded since 2019. And beyond funding, OVPR will organize a series of workshops this spring that focus on best practices for catalyzing and managing research projects amid the pandemic.

Applications for both the Provost’s Office initiative and the OVPR program open March 15. Faculty can apply and, if eligible, receive funding from both programs.

“This pandemic has impacted our university community in ways that none of us could have ever predicted, but we are committed to identifying those key ongoing challenges and implementing solutions so that teams can advance their essential work,” said Cunningham, the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

“These programs, unfortunately, do not address every individual or type of need, so as the U-M community proceeds in its gradual recovery from this pandemic, we will continue to engage with teams from across our three campuses to identify new programs and initiatives that best support our faculty.”


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