Fast forward proposals submitted as part of strategic research initiative

The Strategic Research Initiative was launched in June 2012, and over the last six months 10 scientific concept groups, involving hundreds of faculty, have worked diligently to assemble teams, refine scientific theses, and draft proposals to “fast forward to tomorrow’s cures.” Six have been selected to move forward by the Research Board of Directors, including:

• Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery initiative in Epigenetics

• Cure Obesity
• Discovery of New Diseases: A Comprehensive Rare Disease Research Program
• Personalized Medicine
• Host-Microbiome Initiative
• Center for Protein Folding Diseases

Last week a panel of external experts met to review these proposals and make their recommendations for funding to the Research Board of Directors. Notification of final awards is expected to occur in late April, and the Office of Research will celebrate the announcement and launch of the programs with U-M colleagues and the general public at a “Fast Forward Forum” event in May.

The Office of Research has made great strides on other “fast forward” strategies that have continued in parallel with the scientific proposals. Despite a challenging financial climate, Medical School leadership continues to fully support infrastructure investments that benefit our entire research community, with the latest developments including:

• New assets for the Biomedical Research Core Facilities.
• New Honest Broker Office to help investigators gain access to clinical data.
• Work has begun to establish a federated research data warehouse.
• Work started and endorsement from the Research Board of Directors to create a centralized biorepository system.
• Improved regulatory processes, including restructuring IRBMED.
• Streamlined execution for industry-sponsored trials.
• Integration of clinical research with MiChart.

New Mentored Research Academy and its “R01 Bootcamp.”

The benefits of these investments reach far beyond the walls of the Medical School, benefiting the broader university research enterprise and ultimately impacting patients. You can learn more about all of the initiatives, including reading the executive summaries of the six scientific proposals, at the Strategic Research Initiative website.

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