Rebecca Cunningham named interim vice president for research


Rebecca Cunningham has been appointed interim vice president for research in the University of Michigan Office of Research.

Her appointment, effective June 1, was authorized by President Mark Schlissel and will be reported to the Board of Regents at its May meeting. Cunningham succeeds S. Jack Hu, current vice president for research, who has been named senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Georgia.

Photo of Rebecca Cunningham
Rebecca Cunningham

As interim vice president for research, Cunningham will assume overall responsibility for nurturing the excellence and integrity of research across the entire university, including research on the campuses of Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint.

“Dr. Cunningham’s proven leadership skills, depth of experience, and demonstrated commitment to the University of Michigan make her ideally suited for the responsibilities of interim vice president for research,” Schlissel said.

The president said he would have more information to share regarding a search in the months ahead.

She will oversee the U-M Office of Research, which encourages interdisciplinary research, oversees research policy, provides central services in support of faculty research and economic outreach, and manages activities related to compliance and the responsible conduct of research.

“The University of Michigan has a strong reputation as one of world’s leading research universities because of its ability to bring people together to address important challenges and opportunities in areas that impact society,” Cunningham said.

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I look forward to continue working with our partners on campus and beyond to catalyze, support and safeguard research that impacts our world.”

Over the course of her career, her research has focused on injury prevention, substance abuse prevention and public health.

She was promoted to professor of emergency medicine in the Medical School and professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health in 2014. She has served since 1999 as attending physician in the U-M Department of Emergency Medicine and in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Hurley Hospital in Flint.

In 2017, Cunningham was appointed associate vice president for research-health sciences. As associate vice president, she worked closely with the UMOR leadership team to facilitate and energize the university’s research agenda in the schools, colleges, institutes and centers. She’s also worked on universitywide initiatives such as biosciences and the exercise and sport science initiative.

Cunningham earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Fairfield University, and medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She did postdoctoral work at U-M before joining the faculty as a lecturer in 1999.


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