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April VPR Update

VPR Update

April 21, 2021

VPR Update is a monthly email produced by the Office of the Vice President for Research that aims to increase awareness around important research and scholarship items that impact our community. VPR Update is sent to all active researchers, including those engaged in human research, and research administrators across the three U-M campuses.


Rebecca Cunningham

Dear Colleagues,

As part of our ongoing efforts to catalyze, support and safeguard research and scholarship across the three U-M campuses, I am pleased to share with you the April installment of VPR Update.

University leaders issue statement following Chauvin conviction

  • Addressing the university community following Derek Chauvin’s conviction in George Floyd’s murder, the Board of Regents and top university administrators wrote: “No single verdict represents the end of the journey that must continue. … The larger questions we face are crucial and inescapable for all who want a better world.” Read the full statement.

  • On behalf of OVPR, I also would like to acknowledge that, as a community of researchers and scholars, we have a unique responsibility to use our resources and expertise to identify solutions to the longstanding systems of racism, dehumanization and inequality that harm our society. Research, scholarship and creative practice can truly make a difference, and I welcome your support as we move forward during these challenging times.

COVID-19 research updates

  • COVID-19 cases remain high across the state, but over the past several months, there have been no reports of virus transmission in the laboratories and research spaces across our three campuses.

    • Researchers must continue to wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet of separation when working in laboratories and research spaces, regardless of their vaccination status.

    • When working in a laboratory or research space, teams are required to disinfect all surfaces and equipment before and after use. This important practice greatly reduces the risk of virus transmission. Cleaning logs will continue to be required for shared equipment and spaces that are designated for shared eating, but are not necessary for other areas within the laboratory. Custodial Services staff will continue to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in common public areas and bathrooms.

  • COVID-19 metrics across the research community

    • Researchers to date who have been working on campus and tested positive for COVID-19 (May 21 - April 18): 147 (144 Ann Arbor, 3 Dearborn)

      • Three researchers who have been working in person have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days, with no virus transmission reported in our research workspaces.

Three OVPR funding opportunities to support research, scholarship

  • Researchers are encouraged to review and apply for the OVPR funding opportunities listed below.

    • Anti-Racism Grants

      • The OVPR Anti-Racism Grants aim to catalyze innovative research and scholarship efforts that will advance knowledge and understanding around complex societal racial inequalities that can inform actions to achieve equity and justice. These grants were developed in partnership with the Provost’s Anti-Racism Initiative.

      • Learn more and apply

    • Large-Scale Center and Initiative Planning Grants

      • The OVPR Large-Scale Center and Initiative Planning Grants aim to promote impactful interdisciplinary research and to provide research teams with support for preparing and submitting competitive, external large-scale proposals. Grants support multi-unit PI teams in pursuing external, multi-component, large-scale grants in the range of $5 million or more.

      • Learn more and apply

    • Michigan-Israel Partnership for Research

      • The Michigan-Israel Partnership for Research and Education (MIPRE), a collaboration among researchers at U-M, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, is seeking letters of intent (LOI) for its latest grant competition. The purpose of this RFA is to support meritorious research, to foster innovation, and to spur collaboration between three academic institutions in the areas of human health and biomedicine, leveraging complementary expertise and collaborative partnerships.

      • Learn more and apply

Research recovery efforts amid pandemic

  • OVPR continues to assess university financial metrics to measure how the research enterprise is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a decline in spending and productivity. Research spending data demonstrates the university is moving in a positive trajectory, illustrated by the fact that about 96 percent of our federal research portfolio is now operational after the initial ramp-down.

  • We also must acknowledge that our research enterprise is not fully operational at a pre-pandemic level. The research community has experienced a myriad of complex challenges over the past year, and our colleagues continue to balance ever increasing demands on their work and personal lives. As a research community, it is important for us all to grant and accept some grace during these challenging times, which extends to our teams and our project timelines.

Four staff members awarded for research service, support

  • OVPR will honor four staff members with its annual recognition awards for their expertise and support of research and scholarship activity across U-M. All four employees are expected to be honored during a reception this fall.

    • Exceptional Service Award: April Pepperdine

    • Research Administrator Recognition Award: Becky O’Brien

    • Research Technical Staff Recognition Award: David Paris and Caleb Smith 

  • Learn more


Stay safe and healthy, and research onward.


Rebecca Cunningham, M.D.
Vice President for Research
William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine


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