A first-of-its-kind, real-time research funding initiative at U-M puts $15 million into the hands of professors to jumpstart new projects they believe in.
To qualify, three researchers from different disciplines just need to come up with an idea and agree to work together.
A modern alternative to the traditional yearlong government grant review process, the new MCubed program puts university professors in charge of divvying research dollars in a pure form of peer review.
MCubed is designed to encourage bold research at the interfaces of academic fields, where big breakthroughs tend to happen, according to the designers of the grassroots program.
“The world has changed and yet higher education’s funding model is the same. With the speed at which people communicate and share information today, we see an opportunity to do things in a very different way. This is a totally new model that could turn things upside down,” says Mark Burns, professor and chair of chemical engineering. Burns spearheaded this effort along with professors Alec Gallimore and Thomas Zurbuchen, both associate deans in the College of Engineering (CoE).