Research News
March 2014
Ask the Experts: Regulations and Compliance at U-M
Tuesday, March 25
2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Danto Auditorium,
U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center

Representatives from the Office of Regulatory Affairs, UMHS Compliance Office, and the IRBMED Office will be available to speak with research staff about their services, including information about training opportunities to learn about policies and troubleshooting issues.

Click here for more information, and to register.

A Celebration of Life
Thursday, April 3
12:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Michigan Union, 
Rogel Ballroom

The U-M School of Public Health will host a public event to commemorate Noreen Clark's life and legacy. Noreen M. Clark, Ph.D., was the Myron E. Wegman Distinguished University Professor of Public Health, former director of the U-M Center for Managing Chronic Disease, former dean of the U-M School of Public Health, and a professor of pediatrics at the U-M Medical School.

For more information, 
visit the memorial event website.

Friday, April 4
7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest

The UMHS Adolescent Health Initiative and the Michigan Department of Community Health present the first state-wide conference on Adolescent Health in Michigan. Continuing education credits are available for select professions as part of this conference.

Visit the conference website for more information, and to register.


Medical Education Day

Monday, April 7

12:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Dow Auditorium,

Towsley Center


Medical Education Day is a time to acknowledge and highlight educational innovations taking place throughout the U-M Medical School. This year's Medical Education Day will also take place in conjunction with the American Medical Association's Accelerating Change in Education initiative.


Click here for more information.


Tuesday, April 22
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM
BSRB Seminar Rooms
with follow-up on Thursday, May 8
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
MedSci I, C Wing, 
Room 3127

Register here.

The Good, the Bad, 
and the Ugly of 
Medical Innovation
Wednesday, May 7
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
BSRB Seminar Rooms

Therapeutics, devices, diagnostics - each area presents its own unique challenges when it comes to taking projects from bench to bedside. Learn more about the peaks and valleys of commercialization from our panel of U-M experts who have all "been there, done that."
RSVP here.

Tuesday, May 13 

Two Sessions: 

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM or

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

BSRB Seminar Rooms



CBSSM Research Colloquium and Bishop Lecture in Bioethics

Thursday, May 15

Vandenberg Meeting Hall (2nd Floor),

Michigan League


The Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM) Research Colloquium will feature the Bishop Lecture in Bioethics as the keynote address. This year's Bishop Lecture will be presented by Myra Christopher, Kathleen M. Foley Chair in Pain and Palliative Care at the Center for Practical Bioethics.


Additional details, including how to submit an abstract, available here.



Catch the Wave of the Digital Medicine Revolution

Wednesday, July 9

5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Research Auditorium,

NCRC Building 10


Join our panel of experts as they discuss the latest trends, share experiences, and most importantly highlight U-M resources to help you join the Digital Healthcare Revolution.


RSVP here.




Third Annual BRCF Technology & Services Showcase

Thursday, June 5

Palmer Commons,

4th Floor


Join the Biomedical Research Core Facilities (BRCF) and their top vendors as they share the latest products and services available in biomedical research. 



Health System Headlines Research Seminars & Events 


Internal Submissions


BMRC Bridging Support Program for Biomedical Research


Tuesday, April 15


Medical School 


Bridging Grant Program


Tuesday, April 15


UMHS - Peking University Health Science Center 

Joint Institute for Translational and Clinical Research


Sunday, March 30


Subsidy funds are available on a rolling basis from the Nathan Shock Center for the Biology of Aging for subsidized use of U-M Research Resource Cores for problems in aging research.


Details here.



External Limited Submissions


V Foundation for Cancer Research Translational Grant


Monday, March 31


American Diabetes Association: Pathway to Stop Diabetes


Thursday, May 1



Pilot Programs  


U-M Injury Center 
Pilot Studies


Friday, March 21


Clinical Translational Resource Allocation Committee (CTRAC) Grant 


Monday, March 31


MTRAC Kickstart Award


Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis until available funding has been distributed.


Additional Resources

Fact Sheets &
Hot Topics

Find UMHS facts & figures for your next proposal!

MBECT Tips & Tricks 


UMMS Office of Research


U-M Medical School

UMHS to Celebrate Victors for 
Michigan Campaign at First-Ever
Discovery Ball

On Saturday, April 26, University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) donors, leaders, and friends will gather to celebrate the promise of our medical research at the first-ever Discovery Ball. The gala, which will take place at the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC), will serve as a cornerstone event for the recently launched UMHS Victors for Michigan campaign - a $1 billion effort that will enable the U-M Health System and Medical School to invest in all aspects of our mission and advance our vision to create the future of health care.


The Discovery Ball will help raise awareness about this exciting and unprecedented campaign - the biggest fundraising effort in UMHS history - and will put a spotlight on the groundbreaking medical discovery underway on our campus.


The NCRC will be transformed with unique décor elements that highlight science and discovery. The evening will be hosted by CNN Chief Medical Correspondent and U-M alumnus Sanjay Gupta (M.D. 1993, Residency 2000) and feature a performance from Grammy Award-winning recording artist Michael McDonald.


Proceeds from the Discovery Ball will benefit the newly created Discovery Fund, which is dedicated to innovative research, focused on solutions to the most pressing health care issues of our time.


"Today, our faculty depends more and more upon private support to pursue high-risk, high-reward ideas," says Steven L. Kunkel, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research and Endowed Professor of Pathology Research. "Through the UMHS Victors for Michigan campaign and the new Discovery Fund, donors will help us advance the best science and bring much needed answers to patients."


We are pleased to share that, due to overwhelming response from partners and sponsors, seating at the Discovery Ball is extremely limited. For more information about the event and the Discovery Fund, please visit

U-M MTRAC Requesting Proposals 
for Kickstart Awards
Funding available for preliminary development 
with potential to lead to new products

The Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) team, a part of the U-M Medical School Office of Research devoted to providing research faculty at the Medical School with the connections and resources needed to successfully commercialize technology, recently announced the launch of its new U-M Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences (MTRAC) Kickstart Award program


Offering funding up to $25,000, Kickstart Awards provide support for preliminary studies or development activities such as animal testing, prototype development, beta development, or drug-candidate screening. The FFMI team is specifically seeking proposals which address a discrete milestone that is critical to the advancement of research to the point of product development. Funds will enable activities that can help a project along a developmental path from lab to clinic, potentially making it more eligible for commercialization. 


All interested faculty must complete a pre-submission application before submitting a full proposal. Following completion of a pre-submission application, research teams will work directly with FFMI staff to determine an appropriate research plan and key milestone before submitting a complete proposal for review. Mentorship will be provided during the award period to guide further commercialization efforts.


Kickstart will be an ongoing program, with proposals being reviewed on a rolling basis until available funding has been distributed. Additional details about this program, including pre-submission forms, are available on the MTRAC website.


If you have any questions regarding the MTRAC Kickstart Award or other resources within FFMI, please contact Nick DeHaan at [email protected].

Navigating the Innovation Ecosystem 
-- Find Your Medical Innovation GPS
Do you have an idea for a biomedical innovation but have no idea
how to take it forward? Curious about possible resources? Then you should attend the next "Innovator Series" event on Wednesday, March 26, when a panel of experts will act as your "innovation GPS" to the commercialization ecosystem at the U-M and beyond. 

Part of the "Fast Forward Innovator Series 2014," this event is 
co-sponsored by Fast Forward Medical Innovation, the U-M Medical School Office of Research, U-M Tech Transfer, and the 
U-M Kellogg Eye Center.

Wednesday, March 26
Oliphant-Marshall Auditorium, Kellogg Eye Center
5:00 PM - Session
6:00 PM - Reception

  • Jack Miner, M.B.A., Director,  
    U-M Tech Transfer Venture Center
  • Brad Martin, Ph.D., Program Director,  
    U-M MTRAC for Life Sciences  
  • Connie Chang, M.B.A., Managing Director,  
    Fast Forward Medical Innovation 
  • Jonathan Fay, Ph.D., Associate Director,  
    COE Center for Entrepreneurship 
Click here for more details, or to register for this free event.
GlaxoSmithKline Call for Proposals
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) recently announced an RFP they are calling their "Discovery Fast Track Challenge." 
This challenge offers a unique opportunity for our investigators to submit a drug discovery concept for collaboration, and a chance to work with GSK scientists in partnering with industry to find new medicines. 

Go to the Challenge website to learn more about this opportunity, including application instructions and proposal selection criteria.

Please contact Stephanie Morley on the Fast Forward Medical Innovation Business Development team via email if you have additional questions.
FFMI Announces Faculty Champions
An important driver for the future success of Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) is the establishment of "Faculty Champions" to help guide the strategies for each of the four vertical market focus areas of therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, and healthcare IT.  

After an RFA process initiated in January, Kevin Ward, M.D. and FFMI's Executive Director, announced that the following have accepted roles as Faculty Champions: 
  • Shaomeng Wang, Ph.D. - Therapeutics
  • William Roberts, M.D. - Devices
  • Thomas Wang, M.D., Ph.D. - Diagnostics
  • Lawrence An, M.D. - Healthcare IT (co-Champion)
  • Ulysses Balis, M.D. - Healthcare IT (co-Champion)
Moving forward, these Faculty Champions will work closely with Dr. Ward and the Fast Forward Medical Innovation team to create strategies for driving innovation and commercialization at the Medical School and leverage innovation resources and collaborations across campus.

Questions about Fast Forward Medical Innovation? 
Visit the FFMI website or contact [email protected].
MICHR Pilot Grant Program Requests Proposals for Clinical and Translational Research
Submission Deadline: Friday, April 25 
(Letter of Intent Due Friday, April 18)

The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR)'s Pilot Grant Program seeks proposals from basic, clinical, and social scientists for bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-practice translational research. The program aims to facilitate and support innovative research across the translational spectrum; encouraging interdisciplinary collaborations that promote the development of transformative solutions for improving patient outcomes.


The following mechanisms are offered in Round 16: 

  • T1 Bench to Bedside Translation ($75,000 maximum)
  • T1 Endowment for Basic Sciences Partnership Accelerating Translation ($50,000 maximum)
  • T2 Translational Science ($50,000 maximum)
  • T3 Research Into Practice ($50,000 maximum)
  • T3 Community University Research (CURES) Partnership ($25,000 maximum)
  • T3/T4 Implementing Research-Based Practices to Improve Quality of Care ($20,000 maximum) 

All faculty (12-month and 9-month appointments) with lecturer or instructor appointments or higher from all schools and colleges at the University of Michigan are eligible to apply as principal investigators; including, all basic, clinical, and social scientists.


For additional details and descriptions of each grant's mechanisms; including application expectations and eligibility guidelines, please visit MICHR's Pilot Grant Program page.


Proposals are submitted electronically through the new 

web-based UMMS Competition Space. Please click here to access the application.


Letter of Intent is due Friday, April 18 and submissions are due Friday, April 25. 


For questions, please contact Diana Ha, the MICHR Pilot Program Manager via email or phone at 734-998-7626. 

Learn More About Community University Research (CURES) Partnership Award at April 4 Webinar
Looking for pilot funding for your community-engaged research? The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR)'s Pilot Grant Program offers the Community University Research (CURES) Partnership Award to promote collaborative research that addresses community health priorities.

Academic researchers and community partners who want to learn more about this opportunity and the application process are invited to participate in an informational webinar on Friday, April 4 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

Please register for the webinar by Thursday, April 3.

If you have specific questions related to CURES or this session, please contact Adam Paberzs via email or phone at 734-763-8880.

Register Now for Outreach, Partnerships, & Implementation Science Symposium

The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR)'s 2014 Outreach, Partnerships, & Implementation Science (OPIS) Symposium will take place on Wednesday, March 26 at the NCRC Dining Hall.


The symposium will address partnerships from various perspectives to advance patient-centered outcomes research. The event will include a poster session, keynote presenters, networking lunch, and sessions focused on patient-centered outcomes research, strategies for building partnerships with community-based organizations and practices for research and stakeholder engagement.


Keynote speakers are C. Daniel Mullins, Ph.D., professor in the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Department at University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, and Robin Newhouse, Ph.D., R.N., NEA-BC, FAAN, chair and associate professor, Organizational Systems and Adult Health at University of Maryland School of Nursing.  


Learn more, register, or submit a poster abstract.

The Big Chill:
You May Use it Safely in your Lab Every Day, but... Dry Ice Shipping is Federally Regulated as Hazardous

After this winter, we may feel like dry ice is just a step beyond what we see outside each day, but Dry Ice Shipping is no ordinary matter. Serious harm to persons and property can result when mistakes are made.


Skeptical? A pop bottle screwed shut with dry ice pellets inside will explode as the solid changes to gas. The same pop bottle inserted into a cement block will explode the cement block as well! Don't believe us? Check out this YouTube demo.


Special training, packaging, and labeling requirements are prescribed by law, and the Federal Aviation Administration imposes hefty fines on those who do not comply, as members of the University community have learned the hard way over recent years.


To help persons shipping with dry ice remember their special responsibilities, the Office of Regulatory Affairs has posted Dry Ice Safe Shipping posters in areas where dry ice is stored (see photo above). If you know of an area that needs such a poster, please request one from Regulatory Affairs via email or phone at 734-647-1576.


Mandatory training for persons who ship with dry ice is provided by U-M Occupational Safety and Environmental Health (OSEH) here. The OSEH on-line training coordinates with the U-M procurement system to help ensure that all required information about dry ice content is properly included in the shipping documents.


If someone asks you to "just send this package off," please stop and ask the questions you need to know in order to do it safely: 

  • Does this package contain hazardous material, including 
    dry ice?
  • Does this package contain biological material, which may also require special labeling or training?
  • What training am I required to have taken to be allowed to ship it?
  • How do I properly pack the material and label the package, or know that someone else has done it properly?
  • How do I properly prepare the shipping documents?   

These small steps can help avoid harm to reputation and persons, as well as associated fines. Please be safe, not sorry! 



Please contact the Medical School Office of Regulatory Affairs via email or phone at 734-647-1576, visit the U-M OSEH websiteor contact the U-M OSEH office directly at 734-647-1143.

Grant Fund Renewals Are at Risk!
National Institutes of Health Enforces Public Access Policy

If you do not comply with Public Access requirements, your grant renewal funding will now be held up by the National Institutes

of Health (NIH).   


This enforcement is beginning to be felt right here at the U-M, where last month two grant renewals were delayed for this reason. Policy and compliance suggestions are available on the NIH Grants page, or by visiting   


Our own Merle Rosenzweig, of the Taubman Health Sciences Library, has offered numerous presentations on how to comply, which are available on the webThe Office of Regulatory Affairs and the Taubman Health Sciences Library are working with the 

U-M Office of Research and Sponsored Projects to develop proactive ways to help you stay on track with this obligation, but in the meantime let's make sure the bucks don't stop (coming) here.


If you have further questions, please contact Diane Wilson in the Office of Regulatory Affairs or Merle Rosenzweig at the Taubman Health Sciences Library. 

Ceding Regulatory Oversight

U-M has begun working with several external, central institutional review boards (IRBs) to cede regulatory oversight of certain eligible research studies. 


U-M currently has master service agreements with: Chesapeake IRB, Western IRB, Schulman Associates IRB, Quorum Review, and the National Cancer Institute Central Institutional Review Board (NCI-CIRB). Ceding of oversight to a central IRB is currently limited to phases III and IV, multi-site, industry-sponsored research, where the central IRB will provide the project oversight and U-M will be added on as a performance site or for NCI-CIRB clinical trials 

(all phases).


Although the project will be under the primary oversight of the external, central IRB, the project must be submitted in the eResearch system through the application type (Section 1-1.1) entitled Requesting Review by a Non-U-M IRB.


This brief application: 

1. Registers the intent to cede to an external, central IRB, 

2. Collects limited information for ancillary committees to    

    conduct their necessary reviews, and 

3. Allows IRBMED to assure that the research is appropriate 

    for ceding. A final acknowledgment will be issued   

    by IRBMED.


For more information, please visit IRBMED's Central IRB Information page.

Faster Data Delivery in the Honest Broker Office!

The Honest Broker Office (HBO) recently added an experienced Data Analyst to the team thanks to the newly established recharge rate. 


As a result, the team is able to provide data efficiently again. The provision of data through the HBO allows the research team to focus on the science rather than on the process of manual data extraction. The HBO office hours and appointments are available to assist with defining data requests, understanding the strengths and limitations of available data, and can provide an estimate of time and cost. 


Visit the HBO website for more information, including office hours and location. 


You may also contact the HBO via email or phone at 

734-615-2100 to make an appointment.

Now Accepting Nominations for 
2014 UMMS Dean's Faculty 
Research Awards
Deadline for nominations: Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Medical School Dean's Office and the Office of Research are soliciting nominations for these three faculty research awards as part of the UMMS Dean's Award Program. These awards recognize outstanding faculty who demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in research and in the research community. 


Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award
in Biomedical Research 

This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Medical School upon a faculty member for research in the biomedical sciences. The recipient of this award is an exceptional leader in research, whose landmark contributions are recognized both nationally and internationally. Their contributions are usually linked to pivotal discoveries that have wide-ranging impact for the advancement of scientific knowledge. The recipient of this award also excels in teaching, mentoring, and service to our institution and to their colleagues in the scientific community at large. 


Nominees must be a full professor with their primary appointment in the U-M Medical School, including faculty from Biomedical Engineering (BME). Junior faculty are not eligible for this award; however, they may be eligible for the Basic Science Research Award. Please direct questions to Camille Mrozowski at 

734-615-8802 or [email protected].


Basic Science Research Award

This award recognizes a scientist or group of scientists identified as having made outstanding contributions to the Medical School in basic biomedical science research. Nominees must be in the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor, or Assistant or Associate Research Professor in the U-M Medical School, which includes faculty from Biomedical Engineering (BME). Professors and Research Professors are not eligible for this award; however, they may be eligible for the Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award in Biomedical Research. Please direct questions to Camille Mrozowski at 734-615-8802 or [email protected].  

This award recognizes a faculty member or group of faculty members who are identified as having made outstanding contributions to the Medical School in clinical or health services research. Nominees must be faculty of the U-M Medical School. Any rank or track are eligible. Please direct questions to 

Paula van Velden at 734-764-2204 or [email protected]. 


These awards carry a $5,000 discretionary academic support prize given to the faculty member or group of faculty members. Award recipients will also be honored at the annual Faculty and Staff Awards Dinner held in the fall.


Please refer to the Medical School Dean's Award Program website for the full details on each award, as well as nomination forms, submission process, and a list of previous award winners. 

Now Accepting Nominations for 
2014 UMMS Dean's Awards 
Program for Staff
Deadline for nominations: Friday, June 13, 2014
The Medical School Dean's Office is soliciting nominations of outstanding staff members in the managerial, professional, and support ranks of the U-M Medical School. The Medical School Dean's Awards for Program Staff is designed to give special recognition for distinctive service to the Medical School.

Administrator of the Year
This award is conferred upon the staff member who demonstrates superb leadership in the management of other staff, as well as exceptional operational excellence and stewardship of Medical School resources. This award is open to all staff members in the managerial job role.

Professional Staff of the Year
This award is conferred upon a professional staff member who demonstrates excellence in his/her work, contributes to a positive working environment, and is a strong team contributor (where appropriate). This award is open to all staff members in the professional job role who receive a monthly paycheck.

Support Staff of the Year
This award is conferred upon the support staff member who demonstrates excellence in his/her work, contributes to a positive working environment, and is mindful of his/her service to the Medical School. This award is open to all staff members classified in the professional job role who receive a bi-weekly paycheck.

The top award in each category carries a $1,500 prize given to the staff member. Award recipients will also be honored at the annual Faculty and Staff Awards Dinner held in the fall.

In addition to selecting winners in each category, three honorable mention awards of $500 will be selected in each category.

Please refer to the Medical School Dean's Awards for Program Staff website for full details on each award, as well as nomination forms and details on the submission process.
Contact the U-M Medical School's Human Resources Office at 
734-615-3877 for questions about job classifications; or Connie Bridges at [email protected] or phone at 734-763-5202 for questions about the awards.
U-M Awarded Federal Grant to 
Track Kidney Disease in the U.S.
National Institutes of Health provides funding for project by multidisciplinary team of investigators

The University of Michigan Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center (UM-KECC) has been awarded a five-year, $8.5 million federal contract to serve as the coordinating center for the

United States Renal Data System (USRDS).


The USRDS is a national data system that collects, analyzes, and distributes information about patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. An estimated 13 percent of Americans have chronic kidney disease, which increases their risk for early death due mainly to cardiovascular disease. The coordinating center, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, provides clinical, biostatistical, epidemiological, data management and analytical expertise necessary to maintain and update the existing USRDS database.


"The award presents a unique opportunity to address one of the

nation's fastest growing chronic diseases," says U-M nephrologist 

Dr. Rajiv Saran 

Rajiv Saran, MBBS, project director of the USRDS, professor of internal medicine and associate director of 

UM-KECC. "The work we do will 

provide the impetus for improving the care and quality of life for patients with all aspects of kidney disease and guide prevention efforts."


The USRDS project includes a multidisciplinary team of 21 investigators from the U-M Medical School, School of Public HealthInstitute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation

Frankel Cardiovascular Center and School of Pharmacy, as well as subcontractors from Arbor Research Collaborative for Health and the University of California-Irvine.


Yi Li, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics at the School of Public Health, and Bruce Robinson, M.D., vice president of clinical research at Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, are co-deputy directors on the project.


The award, combined with a $17.6 million award from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted in October, expands UM-KECC's funding for national kidney disease monitoring, quality improvement, and research. It also illustrates the long-standing impact of the UM-KECC, which was involved in the earlier phase of USRDS from 1988-1999.


"I am extremely excited with the achievement made by Dr. Saran and the team," says Li, director of the UM-KECC. "With the strong support of the School of Public Health and Medical School, UM-KECC is committed to facilitating the successful operation of the project. I envision that the new Coordinating Center will provide a solid platform for publishing high impact papers and reports of scientific findings based on USRDS data, and for fostering research in the renal field."

Another Successful Pelvic Floor 
Research Group Day Comes to a 

The University of Michigan is home to one of the world's leading research groups concerned with the health problems that women encounter as a consequence of their unique role in reproduction. Interdisciplinary researchers across the campus are involved in cutting edge work, seeking to understand the basic mechanisms of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse that disproportionately affect women who have given birth vaginally. Each year, researchers gather to discuss progress and make plans for new research. On Wednesday, February 12, the annual Pelvic Floor Research Group Day was held in Palmer Commons.


This year, Paul Hodges, Ph.D., from The University of Queensland delivered the keynote presentation, entitled "Pelvic Floor Muscles, Breathing, Back Pain, Balance and Continence: What's the Link?" Dr. Hodges' talk highlighted new insights into the finely orchestrated motor control of pelvic floor muscles as they relate to incontinence. His visit underscores the Pelvic Floor Research Group's growing interest in the understanding that can be gained from sex differences research -- a major priority of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women's Health


Presentations concerning current investigative work being done at the U-M were given by members of the departments (schools) of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Urology, Public Health, Radiology and Nursing. Updates on investigations into birth-related pelvic floor injury, a new conceptual model for pelvic organ prolapse mechanisms, and instrument development activities were also presented. 


The poster session featured presentations made at national meetings during 2013, and allowed more students, faculty, and staff to share their research and interests. Dr. Hodges also lectured at a joint Urology and Obstetrics and Gynecology Grand Rounds the following morning on the topic "Male Pelvic Floor Function: New Insights from New Technologies." The Pelvic Floor Research Group looks forward to capitalizing on the success of this year's event and continuing its growth and scope at the 2015 Pelvic Floor Research Group Day.


Primary funding for this interdisciplinary research comes from the NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health, and administrative funding and support for the annual Pelvic Floor Research Group Day come from the U-M Office of Research and the 

U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.


For more information about the internationally recognized Pelvic Floor Research Group at the U-M, visit the Group's website.

Sharpening the Focus: 
Tips on Grant Proposal Preparation

National Institutes of Health Innovation Section: 

Cutting (but don't breach the) Edge

By Chris Black, M.L.S., Assistant Director for Research Development Support, 

Office of Research


(One in a series of tips published in UMMS Research News about writing proposals.)

National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines state this section (and evaluation criterion) should:
1. Explain how the application challenges and seeks to shift   
    current research or clinical practice paradigms; and
2. Describe proposed theoretical concepts, approaches or 
    methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions that:
(a) are novel and have advantage over status quo, or 
(b) will be refined, improved, or applied in (important)   
     new ways.

Basically, how will you solve problems or gather/interpret data in new ways that matter to your field?

1. Suggestions for responding:
  • Limit section to approximately 1/2 to 1 page
  • Highlight one or a few innovations (not a laundry list of little items)
  • Start with explaining the norm/status quo in your field (judge how much your reviewers will know about this topic to determine degree of background needed); literature citations are useful here
  • Remember, emphasis here is on impact of the research concept or tool to the scientific field (as opposed to the impact of the study outcome to the NIH mission).
2. Is it innovative or just different? e.g., "This model has   
    been tested in rabbits, mice, rats, drosophila, dogs,   
    chickens, zebrafish, frogs and hampsters, but no one else 
    has looked at it in a cat yet." Does this matter? Why?

3. Don't strive for a totally revolutionary paradigm shift in an 
    unsolicited R-type proposal -- generally reviewers are a 
    scientifically conservative group. They will be skeptical!

Acknowledging that reviewers are often risk-adverse, innovation often elicits skepticism. Here is what the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has to say:

"You can think of your research as a fish in the river of scientific knowledge. While you can swim anywhere, you have to stay in the water. Reviewers expect the same idea: your research can be somewhat innovative -- at the water's edge -- but not so innovative that it's out on the bank."

For more advice from the NIAID on how to highlight significance and innovation in your next proposal, visit their website.  
Office of Research
Our mission in the Office of Research is to foster an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the U-M Medical School community and supports biomedical science from insight to impact.