May 6, 2021

In This Issue ...

Research Development in Practice
Funding Resources & Limited Submissions Opportunities
Events & Workshops


Webinar to offer strategies for Keck funding

U-M Foundation Relations will host an information session on Wednesday, May 19, 2-3 pm, to offer advice on pursuing funding from the W.M. Keck Foundation. Keck seeks projects that are distinctive and novel in their approach to problems, have promise for breakthrough work, and are high-risk with potential for transformative impact. High-risk projects can push the edge of the field, present unconventional approaches to intractable problems, involve emerging technologies or tools modified across disciplinary boundaries, or challenge the prevailing paradigm.

To be considered by Keck, concepts need to have been proposed to or broached with federal agencies and received feedback that states or suggests that risk is an issue. 

This is a limited submission, with applications due internally June 7, for November submission to sponsor.

Register for the webinar

OVPR funding deadlines approach

ISR programs to offer social science training

ISR offers two summer programs designed to provide opportunities for social scientists and students to learn more about research techniques and skills. Deadlines are rolling, depending on each course in respective programs. Information and registration is available on each program's site.

MIT Solve 2021 Global Challenges

Researchers around the world are welcome to submit solutions to the MIT Solve 2021 Global Challenges themes. Submissions are due June 16. Prize amounts vary by opportunity. This year's challenges include:
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Equitable Classrooms
  • Health Security & Pandemics
  • Resilient Ecosystems
  • Anti-racist Technology in the U.S.
Partner Challenges and the Indigenous Communities Fellowship may also be of interest and have various deadlines.

Merck launches 2021 grants, challenges

German science and technology company Merck has recently launched three opportunities to stimulate innovative research in challenging areas of future importance:
  • 2021 Research Grants: up to 450K/year for up to 3 years; categories include Drug Discovery; Real-time Testing and Sensors; Nanoparticles for Nucleic Acid Delivery; Digital Innovation; Bioelectronics; Sustainability; Media Recycling for Cultured Meat; and Organoids. Applications due August 31.
  • Curious 2022 Future Insight Conference, July 12-14, 2021
  • 2021 Research Challenges: a series of research competitions for technology pioneers in areas of high innovation; categories include: Compound Synthesis; Variant Calling; and Patient Experience Data Challenges.

OVPR seeks AVP for Health Sciences

OVPR is seeking nominations for the position of Associate Vice President for Research, Health Sciences. The Associate Vice President works closely with the Vice President for Research and other members of the OVPR Leadership Team, along with university leaders, to catalyze, support and safeguard research and scholarship across the three U-M campuses.

This is a 50 percent appointment anticipated through August 30, 2024. Interested candidates must be a U-M faculty member with an appointment at the full professor level or equivalent, and hold a Ph.D. or M.D.

To be considered for the position, please submit a letter of interest and resume to Karen Houghtaling at

Structuring Specific Aims


It's a difficult task to distill the whole of your proposed research project into a 1-page document that conveys urgency, impact and expertise. Yet a Specific Aims page (or Project Summary) is the most important page of your proposal, and often, the only page that all the reviewers will read. PIs should use it early to solicit feedback from peers, and funding agencies use it later to recruit appropriate reviewers. It should be a quick, accessible and compelling read.

NIH expects certain conventions for the Specific Aims page structure, as do many foundations who fund biomedical research. What do these conventions include? Hook your readers early in your first paragraph by describing the exigency of your work. Describe how it supports the funder’s priorities. Explain why the status quo is not enough, or why it’s important to fill this gap in knowledge. Make clear the objective of this project and how it fits into your long-term goals.

List your aims with a brief overview of each. Avoid making your aims interdependent (what if one fails?) or placing the riskiest aims first. Use confident language and active verbs: we will produce, compare, analyze, identify, measure. 

Conclude your page with a “pay-off” paragraph, in which you describe the potential impact of the project (advancement of your field? new therapies? lives saved? healthier communities?), or the costs of not doing this work. Refer back to the problem statement in your first paragraph and reiterate the urgency of this research.

Read more:


Internal Funding 

​All currently open U-M campus-wide internal funding programs are posted in Research Commons.


Following is a select list of Calls for Intent to Submit and Limited Submissions internal competitions, coordinated by the U-M Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the Medical School. For a comprehensive list of currently open opportunities, visit the OVPR Limited Submissions Homepage
National Research Traineeship Program (NRT) 
May 10, 2021- Internal Deadline
Sept. 6, 2021- Sponsor Deadline
Funding: $3,000,000
Limit: 2
Apply to UMOR

Stronger Democracy Award -Lever for Change
May 10, 2021- Call for Intent Deadline
June 22, 2021- Sponsor Registration (required)
Funding: $12M
Limit: 1
4th World Laureates Forum-Call for Nominations
May 21, 2021- Call for Intent Deadline
June 20, 2021- Sponsor Deadline
Funding: see FOA
Limit: 3
Declare Intent to Submit to UMOR
May 27, 2021- Internal Deadline
July 1, 2021- Sponsor Deadline
Funding: up to $100,000
Limit: 7
NEH Summer Stipends
June 1, 2021- Call for Intent Deadline
Sept. 22, 2021- Sponsor Deadline
Funding: $6,000
Limit: 1
Declare Intent to Submit to UMOR
June 7, 2021- Internal Deadline
Nov. 1, 2021- Sponsor Deadline
Funding: from $500,000 to $5M
Limit: up to 8


Below are select external funding opportunities. For assistance finding additional federal and private funding opportunities, researchers may access:
Facebook Research: Next-generation Data Infrastructure
June 2, 2021- Application Deadline
Funding: $50,000 unrestricted gifts
NSF Engineering Research Initiation (ERI)
June 18, 2021- Application Deadline
Funding: $200,000
High-Priority Behavioral and Social Research Networks (R24)
June 23, 2021- Application Deadline
Funding: see FOA

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -Research in Transforming Health and Health Care Systems
June 28, 2021- Application Deadline
Funding: $150,000 to $350,000


ARIS Summit 2021

Advancing Research Impact in Society
May 10-12

Data Visualization Workshop

Hosted by U-M Library
Monday, May 17
11 am-12:30 pm 

SciTS 2021 Conference

Science of Team Science Virtual Conference
June 7-11

Data Management Workshop

Hosted by U-M Library
Tuesday, June 15
11 am-12:30 pm 
If you would like your event added to the newsletter, please contact
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