Research Scouts

Researcher in a lab at a microscope


Research Scouts is an agile, low-burden funding program which gives money to scientists (the “Scouts”) to invest in other scientists' bold ideas. It’s an investment in the “Bold Science” objective of Michigan Medicine’s research strategic plan, “Great Minds, Greater Discoveries,” and is modeled on the Hypothesis Fund. The goals of the program are to…

  • Spark new scientific conversations and connections
  • Unleash the creativity of our scientists
  • Test bold ideas that may otherwise go unexplored
  • Have fun while facilitating new lines of investigation

From diverse disciplines across the Medical School, Research Scouts are given $150,000 and empowered and motivated to support their fellow researchers’ bold ideas. Scouts are searching for early-stage ideas that can transform our current understanding of a scientific concept or field, challenge common dogma, or are wildly new and imaginative.

Button to submit an idea for research scouts

 


Have an idea you’d like a Scout to consider? SUBMIT YOUR IDEA with a brief questionnaire that asks for a description, which will then be forwarded to the Research Scouts. You may submit as many ideas as you would like, and all will be considered provided they align with the goals outlined above. We also encourage you to discuss your bold ideas during seminars, conferences, and gatherings, where Research Scouts will be “prospecting.” Scouts will not consider unsolicited requests directly, and anyone who approaches a Scout for funding will be deemed ineligible.
 
Once a Research Scout has identified a bold idea from the questionnaire they find promising, both parties will cooperate to complete a brief Investment Agreement Form outlining the project, milestones, award amount, and other information.

Our Research Scouts

 

photo of Kevin Bohannon

Kevin Bohannon, Ph.D.

Biological Chemistry
Michigan Experts Profile

"As an inaugural member of the Research Scouts, I'm looking forward to having an extra incentive to listen for bold, emerging concepts in our great seminar and research-in-progress series here at Michigan Medicine. I'm a microscopy expert that's always on the lookout for new technical and biological ideas in imaging but I have wide interests in cell biology, microbiology and immunology, and pharmacology. It's exciting that being a Research Scout will allow me to help my colleagues explore advances in the basic sciences that help us understand the cellular basis of disease."

photo of Lorraine Buis

Lorraine Buis, Ph.D., M.S.I.

Family Medicine
Michigan Experts Profile

"I’m excited to serve as a Research Scout and help to identify early-stage, innovative, and potentially high impact research. Supporting good ideas and passionate investigators to get to a position where they are ready to be competitive for major research awards is exciting. I’m looking forward to meeting new people across the university and learning more about the awesome work that’s happening across campus."

photo of John DeLancey

John DeLancey, M.D.

Obstetrics and Gynecology
Michigan Experts Profile

"U-M has long been a launching pad for junior faulty with unusual ideas who need a collaborative environment in which to pursue ideas whose importance has not yet been recognized.  The Scout program is an exciting effort to help these early investigators with novel ideas prove the worth of their vision.  I’m excited to be a part of this effort."

photo of Ivo Dinov

Ivo Dinov, Ph.D.

Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics
Michigan Experts Profile
SOCR

"My areas of interest are at the interface of mathematical modeling, statistical computing, data science, health analytics, and biomedical applications, and I believe that some unorthodox ideas are bound to radically change healthcare practice. I have a deep appreciation of the potential healthcare impact of innovations capitalizing on the University of Michigan’s unique and dynamic research ecosystem."

photo of Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Internal Medicine: General Medicine
Michigan Experts Profile

"I'm thrilled to be a Research Scout, as it will provide the opportunity to identify, develop and promote the work of the outstanding faculty at UM. With my co-scout and long-term colleague, Dr. Megan Haymart, we are excited to build upon our work with the Patients First Innovation Initiative to support exciting and innovative research at UM."

photo of Megan Haymart

Megan Haymart, M.D.

Internal Medicine: Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes
Michigan Experts Profile
ThyCARE

"I'm excited to be a Research Scout because it is an opportunity to help promote and highlight the work of U-M's talented, creative faculty. I look forward to working with my long-time colleague, Dr. Hawley, as we try to identify and support innovative research."

photo of Jorge Iñiguez-Lluhi

Jorge Iñiguez-Lluhi, Ph.D.

Pharmacology
Michigan Experts Profile

"I look forward to scouting across our campus for novel ideas that can spark innovation and interaction, especially at the interface of disciplines, where bright areas of progress often emerge.  It will be fun to engage with the diverse members of our research community and catalyze impactful science."

photo of Frederick Korley

Frederick Korley, M.D., Ph.D.

Emergency Medicine
Michigan Experts Profile

"I am excited about the opportunity to help identify compelling research ideas in their nascent stage and help catalyze their ultimate transformation into solutions that may improve human health and well-being. So many bold ideas go unstudied because traditional funding opportunities find them risky. I am excited about the opportunity to look for the novel and risky!" 

photo of Joanna Kountanis

Joanna Kountanis, M.D.

Anesthesiology
Michigan Experts Profile

"I am thrilled to be a Research Scout and identify hidden research opportunities. In the past, I was fortunate enough to have my own exploratory project receive seed money, which led to future funding. I am looking forward to supporting a novel research idea in the same capacity."

Photo of Andrew Lieberman

Andrew Lieberman, M.D., Ph.D.

Pathology
Michigan Experts Profile
Lieberman Lab

"I'm excited about the opportunity to help catalyze new ideas and foster new scientific connections."

photo of Njira Lugogo

Njira Lugogo, M.D.

Internal Medicine: Pulmonary/Critical Care
Michigan Experts Profile
MI Asthma Research

"Being a research scout affords me the opportunity to invest in ideas that are high risk and have immense potential. Diverse experiences inform new ways of thinking and contribute to the richness of scientific discovery. I am excited about playing a small part in catalyzing new ideas."

photo of Michael McKee

Michael McKee, M.D., M.P.H.

Family Medicine
Michigan Experts Profile

"I am most excited about the opportunity to support my colleagues' ideas that are both community-supported and focused on addressing the accessibility and quality of health care for those with disabilities."

photo of Venkatesh Murthy

Venkatesh Murthy, M.D., Ph.D.

Internal Medicine: Cardiovascular Medicine
Michigan Experts Profile

"I’m honored to be a part of the Research Scout program and am looking forward to the chance to catalyze innovative science. My areas of interest are applications of quantitative approaches to cardiometabolic disease, advanced imaging and multiomic integration methods.”

photo of Daniel Myers

Daniel Myers, D.V.M., M.P.H. & D.A.C.L.A.M.

Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, Vascular Surgery
Michigan Experts Profile
Myers Lab

"As a Research Scout, I am excited about the opportunity to identify and invest in early-stage investigators' bold scientific visons. I would actively look for investigators that develop unique research models for benchtop or translational research applications that expand our knowledge."

photo of Nithya Ramnath

Nithya Ramnath, M.B.B.S.

Internal Medicine: Hematology/Oncology
Michigan Experts Profile

"In recent years, interdisciplinary science has taken off in new ways, intersecting with the field of Medicine in previously unimaginable ways. Particularly in cancer, new knowledge derived from deep sequencing of single cells, multi-omics platforms, and computational advances allow us an unprecedented window into cancer biology that is informing the entire spectrum, from early detection to precision oncology. I am excited to be nominated as a Scout, to discover some of the scientific breadth the University of Michigan offers in this new age."

photo of Alvaro Rojas-Peña

Alvaro Rojas-Peña, M.D.

Surgery
Michigan Experts Profile

"A scout in research has a similar role to a 'scout in war' who needs to evaluate the terrain, skills, assets, and allies to identify the problems to defeat the enemy and 'win the war' or help a bold idea to triumph.  Having the opportunity to seek out and test a worthy idea that may solve unsolved clinical problems is a fascinating and compelling challenge that also provides a unique mentorship opportunity."

photo of Simpa Salami

Simpa Salami, M.B.B.S., M.P.H.

Urology
Michigan Experts Profile
Rogel Cancer Center Scout

"As a urologic surgeon-scientist with a translation cancer research laboratory focused on biomarker discovery, I have mentored graduate students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty. Thus, I am in vantage position to scout for, identify, and invest in risings stars in the field of medicine, with creative and innovative thinking, that can engage in high risk, high reward projects that advance the field. I am honored and delighted to serve as a research scout for the medical school."

photo of Charles Schuler

Charles Schuler, M.D.

Internal Medicine: Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Food Allergy Center Scout
Michigan Experts Profile

"I love the earliest phase of research, when the kernel of an idea forms. Being named a Research Scout presents me the opportunity to engage my colleagues at that early time when a little funding, some key data, and a lot of hard work determine whether a good idea takes root. I cannot wait to support the continuous renewal of our research enterprise by finding a few good ideas to help grow into full-fledged, productive projects."

photo of Peter Scott

Peter Scott, Ph.D.

Radiology
Michigan Experts Profile

"50 years after the all-Wolverine Apollo 15 crew, it's time for a 'Mars shot' that will pave the way for the future of research at Michigan Medicine. As a Research Scout, I will fund faculty who are intense and passionate about their work, and whose ideas have the potential to realize Michigan Medicine's equivalent of a mission to Mars."

photo of Geoffrey Siwo

Geoffrey Siwo, Ph.D.

Internal Medicine: Gastroenterology
Michigan Experts Profile
Siwo Research

"Many ideas that changed the world sounded crazy at first. Being a Research Scout gives me the opportunity to invest in bold ideas and creative minds that few would give a chance. I hope it unleashes the creativity of our faculty at Michigan Medicine."

photo of Peter Todd

Peter Todd, M.D., Ph.D.

Neurology
Michigan Experts Profile
Todd Lab

"I love the idea of giving a little push to out-of-the box concepts and truly novel thinking.  These 'Loonshots' too often get ignored- even by the people producing them- because they don’t fit neatly into the mold of our expectations.  Real advances happen when we break the mold and think about the world in a different way."

photo of Matthias Truttmann

Matthias Truttmann, Ph.D.

Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Taubman Institute Scout
Michigan Experts Profile
Truttman Lab

"My goal as a research scout is to identify, support, and thus showcase high-potential research that has so-far flown under the radar. I'm particularly interested in learning more about research projects that involve cross-discipline collaborative aspects, may seem impossible, and/or are led by research faculty colleagues."

photo of Susan Woolford

Susan Woolford, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P

Pediatrics
Michigan Experts Profile

“Being a Research Scout is a super opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children who receive care at UM and beyond. I am particularly interested in advancing novel research that promotes health equity in pediatrics.”

photo of Bing Ye

Bing Ye, Ph.D.

Cell and Developmental Biology
Ye Lab

"I’m excited because this is an innovative program that will identify and support disruptive research in the university. Such research projects usually start small and often lack conventional funding support. Research Scouts aims to support them so they can grow into big projects."

FAQs

What is the goal of the Research Scouts program?

The primary goal of the Research Scouts program is to catalyze new, exciting lines of investigation by making bold, creative ideas possible. Who better to identify great scientific ideas than our own world-class scientists! Therefore, the Medical School Office of Research, as part of the bold science strategy of the research strategic plan, Great Minds, Greater Discoveries, is creating an agile, low-burden program for Medical School scientists to invest in their colleagues’ bold ideas.

Secondary Goals:

  • Spark new scientific conversations and connections
  • Unleash the creativity of our scientists
  • Test bold ideas that may otherwise go unexplored
  • Have fun while facilitating new lines of investigation

How does the Research Scouts program work?

Each Research Scout is given 12 months to award $150,000 to Medical School scientists with compelling, new ideas. A Scout may make a single award of $150,000 to a colleague or make multiple awards of varying amounts to fellow scientists. Scout positions are voluntary; they  will receive modest discretionary funds that may be used to facilitate connections to identify opportunities. There is not an RFP or grant application process. Scouts actively seek out and identify early-stage ideas for funding. Scouts will not accept unsolicited pitches or proposals directly.

We recognize that with pushing boundaries and placing bets on bold, novel ideas there is a high likelihood of unexpected or negative findings. Knowledge comes in all forms – both from positive and negative results.

Who is eligible to receive funding from a Research Scout?

This program is currently limited to those with a primary appointment with effort in the Medical School. Scouts cannot make awards to scientists with whom they have directly collaborated on a grant proposal (submitted or awarded) within the last five years. Research Scouts are discouraged from funding scientists within their immediate area of research interest and within their department (division for large departments). Ideally, awards will be made to scientists at arm’s length. Scouts will not entertain unsolicited requests directly from a scientist, and any who approach a Scout for funding will be deemed ineligible. An awardee can only receive funding from a single Scout (i.e., multiple Scouts cannot fund the same idea, project, or person). Awardees will be featured on the Office of Research website.

What types of ideas may be funded?

Ideally, the types of ideas that may be funded don’t fit or are too early for traditional funding criteria and, if an idea does come to fruition, it may…

  • challenge common dogma,
  • be potentially paradigm shifting,
  • transform our current understanding of or approach to a scientific concept or field, or
  • be wildly new and visionary.

Ideas should be at an early stage. Preliminary data is not required. This investment mechanism is not intended to advance research that has had a funding track record; it aims to spark new lines of investigation. Funding is intended to support remarkable ideas and enable our faculty the full intellectual creativity and exploration that is often hindered by traditional funding sources.

We recognize that with pushing boundaries and placing bets on bold, novel ideas there is a high likelihood of unexpected or negative findings. Knowledge comes in all forms – both from positive and negative results.

How does a Research Scout fund an idea?

Research Scouts use their curiosity and ability to see exciting opportunities, where others don’t, to identify research ideas/projects that excite them. Upon discussions and due diligence, the Scout may invite a faculty, a “Prospect,” to flesh out their idea. Projects should be scoped realistically. A Prospect, if funded, should be able to deploy the dollars quickly, and meaningful progress in testing the hypothesis should be achievable within the funding level and 18-24 months. If the Scout and Prospect reach mutual agreement on the progress that can be made within an appropriate budget and timeline, the Scout may elect to invest in the project. If so, the Scout and Prospect will complete the short Research Scout Investment Agreement form and submit it to the Medical School Office of Research. The form includes information about the Prospect awardee, a brief description of the idea, key milestone(s)/deliverable(s) to be achieved with the investment, award amount, and attestation that the Scout and Prospect are not current or recent collaborators. The awardee, or a member of their team, will need to agree to participate in a future symposium showcasing the Prospects and ideas in which the Research Scouts invested.

Scouts cannot make awards to scientists with whom they have directly collaborated on a grant proposal (submitted or awarded) within the last five years. Scouts are discouraged from funding scientists within their immediate area of research interest and within their department (division for large departments). Ideally, awards will be made to scientists at arm’s length. Scouts will not entertain unsolicited requests directly, and anyone who approaches a Scout for funding will be deemed ineligible. An awardee can only receive funding from a single Scout (i.e., multiple Scouts cannot fund the same idea/project).

How do I apply for a grant from a Scout?

The Research Scouts program does not issue RFPs or hold other grant application processes. Scouts actively seek out and identify early-stage ideas for funding. Scouts will not entertain unsolicited requests, proposals, or pitches, and anyone who approaches a Scout directly for funding will be deemed ineligible. Interested scientists should submit their idea description to THIS QUESTIONNAIRE. Once a Research Scout has identified a bold idea from the questionnaire they find promising, both parties will cooperate to complete a brief Investment Agreement Form outlining the project, milestones, award amount, and other information.

Questions?

Contact researchscouts@umich.edu

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