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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

Distinguished University Innovator Award

The Distinguished University Innovator Award honors faculty who have made important and lasting contributions to society by developing novel ideas and insights through their research, and then translating them to practice. The Award was established in 2007 by the Office of the Vice President for Research and is supported by endowments from the U-M Office of Research and the Stephen and Rosamund Forrest Family Foundation.


A current member of the tenure/tenure track, research, or clinical faculty, or a team of up to three faculty members. Nominations of outstanding women, minorities and members of other groups historically underrepresented in their disciplines are encouraged.


An honorarium of $5,000 to the individual recipient or shared by the team recipients.

Award Criteria

The Distinguished University Innovator(s) will have accomplished one or more of the following:

  • Developed a breakthrough idea, process, or technology and demonstrated its transformational potential relative to an otherwise conventionally accepted practice or market;
  • Taken a significant innovation developed in the University through to market-readiness, either through partnership with a commercial enterprise, licensing a patent, or by starting a company;
  • Demonstrated a new method or means for moving innovations from the University into the private sector through the establishment of partnerships or other relationships that promote the strategic or economic position of the region, state or nation.

Announcement of Award

The award recipient(s) will be announced in early September. Award recipients must be available to accept the award either in person, or virtually, as part of the University’s Fall Celebrate Invention event.

Submission Instructions

Any member of the U-M community may submit a nomination, please include:

  • Provide candidate(s) name, title, department, email, and phone
  • A one-page narrative describing actions the individual (or team) has taken to promote innovations, technologies or activities to support innovation
    Candidate(s) CV
  • Three letters of support from constituents demonstrating the breadth of the individual’s impact on innovation

Submission Dates

Accepting Nominations: April 4, 2022
Submission Deadline: June 10, 2022

Please email your submission as one PDF file to Lisa Johnson.

Selection Committee

The award selection committee will be appointed by the Vice President for Research.

Previous Award Recipients

View a list of previous award recipients for the Distinguished University Innovator Award.