Being competitive for large-scale, “center-type” grants requires significant advanced planning, a well-defined and central research theme, strong preliminary data and a history of partnership among collaborating investigators that often span multiple schools, colleges and disciplines.

Bold Challenges invests in activities that have strong potential to create substantial, large-scale quality of life improvements for our state, nation, and world. Bold Challenges offers precision support for high-impact collaborations. 

Accelerate is designed to support teams that are soon-to-be or actively seeking a large-scale external funding opportunity within 18 months that is at least 25x the value of requested resources.

Accelerate services include:

  • Consulting relationships with proposal development/project management specialists that are tailored to meet team needs and funder requirements (e.g., scheduling/running team meetings, preparing proposal documents, planning events, coordinating with research administrators, connecting to other internal and external partners/services)
  • Between $50-250k in support (based on meeting clear criteria for advancement) over 18 months to strengthen collaborations, host events, cover release time or effort, and other needs that will strengthen the competitiveness of the proposal/team. Proposals for significant Bold Challenges support must have detailed work plans, schedules, and deliverables.

Who should apply?

  • Teams that include one lead PI and at least one co-PI from another school/college or unit.
  • Applications must target an upcoming large-scale funding opportunity whose likely return is at least 25 times the amount that Accelerate invests in the project. Applicants must provide a credible assessment of the probability of receiving an award if a competitive proposal is put forward.
  • It is expected that research teams will propose projects tackling significant and complex research questions that would not be feasible to pursue through individual efforts
  • Renewals of existing center grants, or equivalent, are not eligible.

Bold Challenges will also seek participants through public events, landscaping analytics, and change relationships with U-M leadership to more aggressively identify and activate viable teams.

Some external funding opportunities restrict the number of proposals that the University of Michigan can submit. When multiple U-M researchers want to pursue these limited submission opportunities, OVPR runs an internal competition to select institutional applicants. U-M researchers who apply to Accelerate and who are pursuing limited submission opportunities may receive basic research development support (e.g., proposal management, graphics) prior to the internal competition.  Researchers who are selected to represent U-M in the limited submissions competition become eligible for Accelerate’s full range of support, including funding. Researchers may apply to Accelerate before being selected in an internal competition and should base their budget requests on the information above.

Application Information

Applications for Accelerate are accepted on a rolling basis. Teams interested in applying are required to have an initial consultation with the Bold Challenges team prior to submitting the full application.