Translational Research

Within the University of Michigan there are multiple sources of funding to further develop a technology.  Projects typically can be funded up to $150K per year. These programs help “translate” basic research.

Great Lakes Discovery, a venture launched by Deerfield Management Company, will invest up to $130M over the next decade in biomedical research at U-M with the aim of developing potentially life-saving drugs and disease treatments. Starting in the fall of 2020, U-M researchers will have the ability to submit proposals for review by a Great Lakes committee composed of scientific leadership representing both the university and Deerfield. As part of the alliance, Deerfield will deliver development expertise to help shepherd potential cutting-edge treatments in high-need therapeutic areas, as well as for rare diseases, with the objective of delivering more effective treatments to market. All preclinical stages of drug discovery and development of selected projects will be supported by Great Lakes Discoveries.

Great Lakes Discovery Fall 2020 RFP Cycle

The Great Lakes Discovery Fall 2020 RFP Cycle closed as of November 30, 2020. Next cycle to be announced soon.

The Letter of Intent (LOI) submission will address the items below:

  • Novelty
  • Genetics
  • Biologic Rationale
  • Preclinical Models
  • Clinical Development

Selected applicants will be invited to complete a more comprehensive Full Proposal application. A Joint Steering Committee aims to give quality feedback to all applicants regardless of selection status. Great Lakes Discovery welcomes applications in all therapeutic areas.

Great Lakes Discovery hosted a Virtual Information Session on Wednesday, October 21st at 3:30 PM ET. This Information Session was led by members of the Great Lakes Discovery Joint Steering Committee and provided an overview of the collaboration along with information on the application process and selection criteria.

The first step for submitting an LOI is to register here to create a Great Lakes Discovery profile. You may also contact the U-M Technology Transfer Office by emailing Ed Pagani or U-M Innovation Partnerships.

More information can be found on the Great Lakes Discovery Webpage.

MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation is a statewide program that provides resources to support translational projects with transportation applications that have high commercial potential. This support includes research funding for proof-of-concept and late-stage translational activities, with consultation and mentoring by industry and investment experts.

MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub is a statewide program that provides translational research awards for promising life science projects to faculty within the U-M Medical School and Michigan’s institutions of higher education.

NIBR Global Scholars Program – Request for Proposals – Round 2

NIBR Global Scholars Program (NGSP) is a highly competitive program that connects university faculty involved in drug discovery research and related technologies from the University of Michigan and other national and international academic institutions with the NIBR scientific sponsors to explore new and exciting research directions toward transformative medicines. Only U-M Principal Investigators and Faculty, but not post-doctoral fellows and graduate students, are eligible to apply, and only employees of U-M may participate. Projects selected for funding by NIBR will receive up to one million dollars over a three year period to cover direct and indirect research costs, and the Scholars will receive five thousand dollars for out of pocket travel related expenses to Basel, Switzerland or Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend the NIBR Global Scholars Program symposium. All proposals must be reviewed by Innovation Partnerships before submission to NGSP. Please email us at:

SPARC – University of Michigan Partnership Grant for Drug Discovery seeks to provide financial support and in-kind industry resources to move various promising drug-discovery research projects within the university toward the ultimate goal of new therapies for patients. Working with Michigan Drug Discovery and Innovation Partnerships, SPARC will support projects selected from across U-M’s broad research enterprise, with a focus on early-stage translational therapeutic work in the areas of oncology, neurodegeneration, inflammation, dermatology, and ophthalmology. Each selected project will have the potential to receive a value up to $1.5 million over a three-year period, including in-kind support in areas such as medicinal chemistry and preclinical development.

The Engineering Translational Research Fund encourages faculty within the College of Engineering to attend a customer discovery based program, provides the funds to enable them to do so, and ensures future commercialization funding success for either internal or external university programs including SBIR/STTR grants, MTRAC, and Coulter.

Coulter Foundation Translational Research Fund supports collaborative translational research projects that involve co-investigators from the Department of Biomedical Engineering and a clinical investigator. This fund typically funds projects up to $100,000 for each project annually.

Center for the Discovery of New Medicines (CDNM) is a virtual organization devoted to identifying, funding and mentoring projects in drug discovery across the U-M campus. This mission and scope is made possible by funding from the Office of the Provost, the College of Pharmacy, the Life Sciences Institute, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Department of Internal Medicine, the Department of Pathology, and the Endowment for the Basic Sciences in the Medical School.

Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) Pilot Grant Program seeks proposals from basic, clinical and social scientists for bench to bedside, and bedside to practice translational research. The goal is to promote development of novel solutions that will ultimately improve patient and community health outcomes. In addition to clinical and translational research, they welcome proposals for studies on health services, health outcomes, or health policy that inform practice, development, and testing of new hypotheses or interventions, and proposals relevant to developing new methods or best practices. The grant awards $50,000 to $250,000 maximum, per project, depending on the stage of development.

U-M Office of Research (UMOR) Faculty Grants and Awards offers support for research, scholarship, and creative activities in all fields.

Med School Michigan Center for Therapeutic Innovations (MCTI) offers a five-year, $2.5 million fund created to accelerate the discovery and translation of therapeutic candidates at the University of Michigan.