Being competitive for large-scale, center-size 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 teams and activities with strong potential to create substantial, large-scale quality of life improvements for our state, nation, and world. 

Accelerate is designed to support teams that are targeting a large-scale external funding opportunity within six months to two years. Bold Challenges will only consider applications from teams at least six months away from the funding opportunity’s due date.

Accelerate services include:

  • Expert support in proposal development to meet team’s 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)
  • Up to $250k in seed funding released over a set timeline based on team’s progress to strengthen collaborations, host events, cover release time or effort, pay external reviewers and other needs that will strengthen the competitiveness of the proposal/team. Disbursements of program funds depend on the team’s progression toward submitting a competitive proposal and will follow a milestone timeline agreed upon at the beginning of the program period.  Teams may request:
    • Up to $150,000 for proposals due in 6 to 12 months
    • Up to $250,000 for proposals due in 12 to 24 months

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 at least six months from the date the Accelerate application is submitted. “Large-scale” will look different for different disciplines. As a general rule of thumb, large-scale STEMM proposals will request at least $1M per year in total costs from the funder. 
  • 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.

Limited Submission Policy

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 a limited submission opportunity will need to identify a secondary large-scale funding source to pursue if they are not selected during the internal competition for the limited submission.

Application Information

Applications for Accelerate are accepted on a rolling basis. Interested teams should complete an InfoReady Application

The Bold Challenges team will review your application within two weeks of submission. Selected teams will be invited for a consultation with the Bold Challenges team via Zoom. We may request additional information from the PI, research teams, and departmental leadership.