2012 Strategic Research Initiative

Fast Forward initiative logoThe 2012 Strategic Research Initiative aligned the University of Michigan Health System (now Michigan Medicine) and Medical School around a common research vision, backed by a long-term commitment of over $100 million by the Dean of the Medical School and implemented by the Medical School Office of Research. The 2012 Strategic Research Initiative's mission was to...
  • Align interests and expertise, and invest in enabling infrastructure.
  • Engage basic, translational, clinical, and health outcomes researchers.
  • Leverage existing areas of research strength.

Resulting in ground-breaking, innovative science, the Strategic Research Initiative “fast forwarded” biomedical research at the University of Michigan, and continues to strive to impact the future of human health and global healthcare policy. We invite you to take a look at the ongoing results of this multi-year, multi-million dollar investment...

Invest in state-of-the-art, customer-centric core services

Biomedical Research Core Facilities

  • Established the Epigenomics Core, providing resources and services to prepare samples for analysis in epigenetic regulation in both genome-wide and locus-specific manners.
  • Developed the Michigan Research Cores website.
  • Across the 12 cores, we introduced new technologies, increased scientific capability and capacity, and reduced turnaround times. Collectively, the BRCF represent:
    • $19M invested in new technology
    • 4,650+ grants served in FY18
    • 2,537 PIs served in FY18

Central Biorepository

  • Established an enterprise-wide, College of American Pathologists-accredited biorepository of biospecimens linked to highly annotated clinical and laboratory data.
  • Developed standard informed consent for biobanking, and foundational standard language for sharing with industry.
  • Enabling Precision Health and Michigan Genomics Initiative, as well as 20+ other programs.
  • Established archive biorepository for long-term storage of critical biospecimens.
  • Currently offering access to nearly 500,000 specimens from 100,000 individuals.

Improve research IT

Data Office for Clinical and Translational Research & Research Data Warehouse

  • In partnership, these two units were established to accelerate research by enabling secure access to patient data through investigator-friendly, self-serve tools and custom data extracts.
  • Developed DataDirect, a web-based self-serve tool that enables access to clinical data including diagnoses, encounters, procedures, medications, and labs on over four million unique patients from across Michigan Medicine.
  • Currently 2,000+ active users of DataDirect, and almost 1,000 data extracts are delivered to U-M researchers annually.
  • The Data Office and Research Data Warehouse also currently enable the Precision Health Initiative, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Pediatric Trial Network, and the Clinical Trials Recruitment Roadmap.

Accelerate innovation and commercialization

Fast Forward Medical Innovation

  • Established to support a campus-wide biomedical entrepreneurial ecosystem through funding channels, industry engagement, and commercialization education.
  • To date, $10M in funding from the State of Michigan, 30+ startup companies, and over $50M in follow-on funding.
  • $100M+ in industry sponsored awards annually, plus averaging 100+ license agreements with industry each year.
  • 275 projects teams participated in commercialization education.
  • In partnership with the COE Center for Entrepreneurship, launched the Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund, which channels investments into U-M biomedical startups.

Support early-career faculty in funding pursuit

Mentored Research Academy: R01 Boot Camp

  • Established multifaceted program designed to help faculty members receive their first R01 grants from the NIH.
  • Senior faculty with strong track records of NIH funding guide groups of mentees through the proposal development process.
  • Team structure encourages peer support and feedback.  
  • 175+ participants, and over 50 new R01s (or equivalent) to date.

Transform the clinical trials enterprise

Clinical Trials Support Office

  • Established central hub for seven trans-departmental Clinical Trial Support Units (CTSU) providing enterprise-wide leadership, standards, policies, and common infrastructure for all clinical trials at the U-M. The Clinical Trials Support Units include:
    • Accute, Critical Care, Surgery, and Transplant CTSU
    • Ambulatory and Chronic Disease CTSU
    • Behavior, Function, and Pain CTSU
    • Children's CTSU
    • Heart, Vessel, Blood CTSU
    • Neurosciences and Sensory CTSU
    • Oncology CTSU
  • Launched OnCore clinical trials management system.
  • Redesigned IRBMED to expedite regulatory review.
  • 1,800+ active clinical trials FY19.

Support research strengths

Host Microbiome Initiative

  • Launched collaborative initiative built upon long-standing strengths in microbiology, microbial pathogenesis, immunology, and clinical medicine.
  • $11M initial funding, with $64M achieved in follow-on external funding.
  • 139 investigators across campus.
  • Microbial Systems Molecular Biology Laboratory launched to serve the entire U-M biomedical research community.

Protein Folding Disease Initiative

  • Four research “hubs” under the umbrella of one initiative focusing on disorders of abnormal protein accumulations and perturbations in protein quality control.
  • $30M in external funding.
  • 60+ investigators.
  • Hosts annual symposium.
  • First center of its kind in the country.


Contact us at 734-615-1332 / (Fax 734-615-9458)

2800 Plymouth Road, Building 520, 3rd Floor, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

Contact the Medical School Office of Research at ummsresearch@umich.edu.