Research Scouts

Funding Bold ScienceFunding for Bold Science

The Medical School Office of Research is launching the “Bold Science” arm of its research strategic plan, Great Minds, Greater Discoveries, by giving money to faculty to invest in other faculty’s bold scientific ideas.

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 faculty to invest in their colleagues’ bold scientific ideas. Other goals include:

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

Borrowing a page from the Hypothesis Fund, Research Scouts will receive $150,000 to invest in other Medical School faculty’s scientific ideas, technologies, methods, and tools that they find exciting and visionary.

Stay tuned for information about how investigators can submit bold ideas to be considered by Research Scouts.

Informational Webinar Recording

Research Scouts WebinarCLICK HERE to view the recording of the Research Scouts informational Zoom session, which also included an extensive period of Q&A.

 

U-M level 1 login required to view, and please note that captions and transcripts are automatically generated via Zoom Webinar live transcription, so accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

 

 

FAQs

Who is eligible to receive funding from a Research Scout?

This program is currently limited to faculty with a primary appointment with effort in the Medical School. Scouts cannot make awards to faculty with whom they have directly collaborated on a grant proposal (submitted or awarded) within the last five years. Research Scouts are discouraged from funding faculty within their immediate area of research interest and within their department (division for large departments). Ideally, awards will be made to faculty at arm’s length. Scouts will not entertain unsolicited requests directly from a faculty, and any faculty 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, 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 faculty with whom they have directly collaborated on a grant proposal (submitted or awarded) within the last five years. Scouts are discouraged from funding faculty within their immediate area of research interest and within their department (division for large departments). Ideally, awards will be made to faculty at arm’s length. Scouts will not entertain unsolicited requests directly from faculty, and any faculty 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?

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 any faculty who approaches a Scout for funding will be deemed ineligible.

Questions?

Contact us at ummsresearch@umich.edu or 734-615-1332

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