Working together in new ways, research can change the world. Now is the time to be BOLD.

Bold Challenges, an Office of Vice President for Research initiative, leads events and programs to empower researchers to create dynamic teams, produce transformative discoveries, and improve the quality of life for our communities, state, nation, and world.

Bold Challenges Themes

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

trainees and instructors participate in a day-long clinical simulation course at the new Clinical Simulation Center.

Advancing Human Health at Scale

Aimed at understanding and improving health outcomes for minority and underserved populations, women’s health, and challenges across different stages of life. It includes the integration of research, policy, technology and interventions designed to reduce health disparities and promote equal access to health resources.

  • Achieve better health outcomes for every person
  • Address public health challenges across the lifespan
  • Address health inequities in collaboration with communities 
  • Leverage artificial intelligence in biomedical discovery and translational research
  • Reduce the cumulative health impacts of environmental burdens
A coast with snow and ice and cranes on an opposite coast in the distant

Adapting to Changing Environments

Research and innovation related to environmental sustainability and stewardship. It includes understanding Earth’s climate systems, advancing climate research, protecting ecosystems, and working towards solutions for climate crises and promoting intergenerational justice.

  • Renew our relationship with nature and build a sustainable future
  • Protect and restore marine life and ocean, coastal and great lakes ecosystems
  • Understand the earth system and its climate
  • Build resilience in communities and natural systems against environmental volatility
  • Produce innovations emphasizing nature-based solutions and designs
solar panel

Creating Sustainable Energy Innovations

Centered on advancing integrated breakthrough energy research and achieving net-zero emission goals. It focuses on the sustainable management, innovation and optimization of energy assets that aim to revolutionize energy production, distribution, and consumption.

  • Exceed net-zero emission goals
  • Sustainably manage and optimize the use of land assets
  • Reimagine infrastructure centered in environmental justice
  • Design the future transportation system-of-systems
  • Identify ways to reduce waste in large-scale production processes.
an aerial view of a railroad crossing in a city

Improving Lives through Next Generation Infrastructure

Focused on projects that create and strengthen physical infrastructure, social infrastructure, supply chains, transportation networks, and data systems. It focuses on building and maintaining resilient infrastructure that can withstand and recover from disruptions while ensuring national safety and security.

  • Reduce structural barriers and inequities
  • Increase accessibility and usability of data that can produce practical societal benefits 
  • Leverage data science for scalable and stackable biomedical discoveries
  • Cultivate scalable means of improving well-being for individuals and communities
  • Broaden accessible, safe, affordable, and equitable mobility 
two people helping each climb to the top of a mountain

Building Trust and Strengthening Social Connections

Supporting initiatives that promote community engagement, community stability, social mobility, and the development of a diverse workforce. It underscores efforts to ensure that societal benefits and opportunities are accessible to all individuals and communities, fostering inclusive growth and equitable development.

  • Advance trustworthy artificial intelligence technology
  • Create opportunity networks to accelerate economic growth in underserved areas
  • Increase trust in electronic media and social institutions by developing better systems to detect and manage misinformation and disinformation
  • Support practices to increase the trustworthiness of science 
  • Establish pathways for workforce preparation and (re)training in emerging fields 


Bold Challenge events and workshops focus providing opportunities for researchers to connect with faculty from across the university so that U-M can strengthen the deep bench of diverse faculty ready to apply when big opportunities arise.


The Bold Challenges programs are designed to build faculty skills, knowledge and capacity so that U-M researchers are ready when big opportunities arise:


is an annual cohort-based program to support multi-school teams working on significant transdisciplinary projects with substantial potential for large-scale funding, providing up to $75K in funding. 


is an advanced consulting service that offers precision support from Research Development professionals. This program offers expert consulting and financial support for activities that are directly related to increasing the probability of a successful proposal for a specific funding opportunity. Teams on track to submit a large-scale proposal within two years are eligible for financial support of up to $250K.


If you have any questions, please email Bold-Challenges@umich.edu for more information.