Bold Challenges is a new initiative, led by the Office of the Vice President for Research, that integrates social and technical sciences from across the University of Michigan to address societal challenges that intersect equity, health, infrastructure and sustainability.

Six Research Challenges

With input from key stakeholders across U-M and beyond, the Bold Challenges initiative will focus on six specific research challenges that align internal strengths with national and global priorities.

Human hands holding the earth with a green plant growing from it to promote resilient, equitable and carbon neutral energy systems.

Resilient, Equitable & Carbon-neutral Physical Infrastructure

includes topics such as smart and clean energy systems; new  financial models for infrastructure and supply chains; sustainable building designs and materials; and accelerating the transition to electrified transportation and mobility solutions.


Universal Access to Healthy Water

includes topics such as mitigating legacy toxins in natural and engineered waters, addressing new threats from emerging waterborne diseases; preserving the Great Lakes as a global resource; and ensuring water access and availability across all socioeconomic groups.


Sustainable & Equitable Solutions for the Housing Crisis

includes topics such as identifying systemic inequities in housing policies; environmental and economic justice implications of housing (re)development; and designing new materials and technologies for clean housing solutions.


Smart Health Care Systems for Equitable Access

includes topics such as aligning healthcare policies and delivery of services with needs; developing new technologies for increasing access to healthcare providers; and using data science to identify early risk factors of disease.


Healthy Adaptation to Climate Change

includes topics such as addressing climate conflicts and future migrations; protecting vulnerable populations from acute climate challenges; and identifying and mitigating the impacts of human activity on natural systems.


Better Health Outcomes Through Better Built Environments

includes topics such as integrating urban design with public health interventions; addressing food insecurity in urban and rural communities; and improving air quality in low-income neighborhoods.


U-M Partners

In an effort to integrate existing activities and networks, while leveraging ongoing strengths and investments in key areas, the Office of the Vice President for Research is working closely with schools, colleges, and units. In particular, OVPR is assembling a Council of Institutes to strengthen partnerships with relevant interdisciplinary research units across U-M.

Research Accelerator Program

OVPR designed a four-phase research accelerator program that will connect researchers and provide intensive facilitation so faculty can develop research ideas, engage with external stakeholders and build teams to seek external support across the six research challenges.

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Initiative Updates

Fall 2022 Team Formation

The Fall 2022 Team Formation application window is now closed

Fall 2022 Incubation

The Fall 2022 Incubation application window is now closed



If you have any questions, please email for more information.