Office of Research update: July 2023

July 10, 2023

See which of your colleagues earned external funding grants, learn about research resources like upcoming virtual seminars and information regarding new policies, and consider applying for a fiscal year 2024 campus grant.

External funding

The Office of Research is pleased to announce and would like to congratulate our Dearborn faculty members on receipt of the following external funding:

U-M Principal Investigator: Youngki Kim, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering
Project Title: Development of a Heat Pump Control Algorithm for Enhanced Driving Range of Electric Vehicles
Direct Sponsor: Hyundai Motor Company and Kia
Awarded Amount: $158,541

The objective of this research is to develop a real-time implementable MPC-based control algorithm for the energy-efficient heat-pump operation of electric vehicles during cold ambient conditions. The goal is to improve the driving range of electric vehicles by reducing the energy consumption by the thermal management system (TMS) while satisfying operational constraints and passenger thermal comfort.

U-M Principal Investigator: Zhen Hu, assistant professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Project Title: ERI: Design of Reliable Autonomous Engineering Systems with Active Failure Prevention
Direct Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Awarded Amount: $199,710

The objective of this project is to create a design framework using computer simulations to design reliable autonomous engineering systems (AES) that can proactively prevent catastrophic failures during operation. It is envisioned that AES in the future should have the capability of not only autonomously accomplishing a mission, but also proactively preventing failures in operation (i.e., active failure prevention). Through simulation-based design under uncertainty, this research will incorporate post-design active failure prevention into the early design stage of AES, thus reducing the probability of failure when the designed AES is put into operation. This research will enable the design of AES with assured reliability and accelerate the development of AES by reducing the reliability certification effort in the design process. 

U-M Principal Investigator: Georges Ayoub, associate professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Project Title: ERI: Durability of Biocompatible Elastomers under Extreme Environments: Unveiling the Aging Mechanisms
Direct Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Awarded Amount: $200,000

Growing use of plastic materials across many industries (medical, automotive, energy storage, etc.) has prompted the need to develop a knowledge base to support their successful use and processing. One issue with these materials is that their chemical and/or physical degradation, commonly known as aging, sets limits to their use in applications requiring good fatigue and/or impact performance. To avoid in-service failure, this research seeks to understand the endurance of biocompatible elastomers. The project goal is to find a correlation between the mechanical and dynamic properties resulting from in-service aging and from accelerated aging conditions for environmentally aged biocompatible elastomers. This project will work to discover the effect of thermal aging on the static, viscous, and fatigue behavior of elastomers; is the effect of aging on the fatigue induced crazing and cracking initiation, propagation, and coalescence; and how aging affects the chain reptation mechanism.

U-M Principal Investigator: Zhen Hu, assistant professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Project Title:  Likelihood-Free Calibration Approaches for Correlation of CAE Model and Tests with Incomplete Information
Direct Sponsor: Ford Motor Company
Total Sponsor Authorized Amount: $50,000.00 

The goal of this research is to develop a method that improves the accuracy of predictions made by a computer simulation model called CAE. This method uses Bayesian statistics and doesn't rely on actual physical tests. Thus, we can reduce the number of tests needed to certify the CAE model and speed up the process of developing new products. One important part of this method is creating a mathematical function called the likelihood function. It connects the observations we make in the real world with the predictions made by the CAE model and takes into account the uncertainties in the model. Sometimes, it's difficult to calculate this function because we don't have all the necessary information. This research solves this problem by using a machine learning-based approach that doesn't require calculating the likelihood function directly.

U-M Principal Investigator: Areen Alsaid, assistant professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Project Title: Estimating inattention in L3 through affect and context
Direct Sponsor: Ford Motor Company
Awarded Amount: $10,434

Monitoring systems can mitigate the consequences of drive inattention, however, existing systems will not be effective in highly automated vehicles. Signals that current monitoring systems rely on will become obsolete, so there is a need to monitor the driver’s state through other measures. An under-examined predictor of drivers’ inattention is affect, which has considerable influence on cognitive functions and is a very contextualized cognitive state that does not translate from one application domain to another. This research aims to discover how driving context impacts the affective state of the driver, and how affect influences drivers’ attention. The outcomes of this research will be a model utilizing physiological signals fused with context to detect affect, and consequently inattention.

U-M Principal Investigator: Abdallah Chehade, assistant professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Project Title: Building dependencies between product failures using warranty data
Direct Sponsor: Ford Motor Company
Awarded Amount: $200,001

The objective is to utilize a historical database of warranty data to identify causal and sequential dependencies between component failures in order to support better design reliability and manufacturing reliability advancements for future components. This project will also explore real-time analysis models to help provide proactive maintenance requests and mitigation strategies to avoid expensive and/or unsafe sequential failures. 

U-M Principal Investigator: Alireza Mohammadi, assistant professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Project Title:  Embedded Implementation of VRU Stability and Motion Predictors
Direct Sponsor:  Ford Motor Company
Awarded Amount: $33,522

Dr. Mohammadi and his partners recently developed a method for predicting the stability of cyclists, who constitute a significant portion of the vulnerable road users (VRUs) in severe and fatal car-cyclist accidents. The objective of this project is to enable implementation of this novel stability prediction for the motion of VRUs in cell phone-based embedded applications for utilization in vehicle communication applications and driver assistance systems. 

U-M Principal Investigator: Georges Ayoub, associate professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Project Title:  Leveraging AI Chatbot in Advance Manufacturing Engineering Technologies
Direct Sponsor: Ford Motor Company
Total Sponsor Authorized Amount: $33,278

The objective of this research is to explore potential use cases of AI chatbots in the field of manufacturing engineering, which could include office applications, data analysis, and coding applications in an industrial manufacturing environment. The investigation aims to comprehend the near-term potential usage of AI chatbots in these areas and establish a technical framework approach to mitigate any potential cybersecurity risks or IP-sharing concerns.

U-M Principal Investigator: Francine Dolins, associate professor of Psychology
Project Title:  Development of simulated 3-D virtual reality testing for baboon AD/dementia and spatial cognition research
Direct Sponsor: Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Prime Sponsor: National Institutes of Health
Total Sponsor Authorized Amount: $33,389

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), other neurodegenerative disorders, and aging present with varying levels, patterns, and progressions of spatial cognitive decline. A frequent early symptom is getting lost, which may involve a failure to recognize, remember, or integrate information about landmarks or other cues to present location and intended target. Understanding the normative functioning and pathology is vital to identifying the “earliest diagnostic criteria” in AD and other neurodegenerative disorders, and to developing translational models to test real-world therapies. Nonhuman primates (NHPs), as human’s closest relatives, show numerous derived characteristics in brain physiology and cognitive abilities. They play a key role in translating animal findings to reliable AD diagnostics and therapeutics. Baboons reach geriatric ages sooner than humans. In relation to large-scale spatial and navigational problems, baboons are among the most terrestrial of NHPs, and thus experience the world in a more human-like manner. We will test a large number of baboons in their family groups, of all age-sex classes, in their home surroundings, and on a voluntary basis. The purpose of this project is to develop a non-invasive VR system for widespread use in the baboon model of spatial cognition, aging, and AD/dementia. The utilization of both VR and comparator real world platforms provides a strong indication of our commitment to naturalistic testing methods and ecological relevance, a common concern in both human and translational research.


FY24 Open Invitation Campus Grants Accepting Applications

Fiscal year 2024 Open Invitation Campus Grants are now accepting applications. Faculty can apply for the following Open Invitation Campus Grants:

  • Faculty Research Mini Grants provide up to $1,000 for non-salary resources that enable faculty research and other scholarly activities.
  • Faculty Research Publication & Dissemination Grants provide up to $500 per year for peer-reviewed scholarly publication costs, limited to:
    • Journal page charges (including surcharges for graphics)
    • Publisher required expenses related to book publication
    • Reprints (hardcopy or electronic) of your publication
    • Conference poster and presentation printing costs
    • Copy editing for peer-reviewed scholarly publications, limited to editing required by the publisher
  • Research Assistant Grants provide funding to hire a student to assist full-time UM-Dearborn faculty members with work on research and scholarly projects. The program provides two levels of support:
    • $750 for work leading to a scholarly product (data, book chapter, publication, etc.)
    • $1,500 requires that a related proposal for external funding will be submitted within one year
  • Special Circumstance Research Grants provide support for non-salary resources that enable faculty research and other scholarly activities *not* supported by the Faculty Research Mini Grant or other Open Invitation Grants.

Fiscal year 2024 Competitive Campus Grants will launch in the fall semester. For more information about all of our Campus Grants programs (competitive and open invitation) and eligibility information, please visit our Campus Grants webpage or email us at [email protected].

U-M's Research Data Stewardship Policy

The recently announced Research Data Stewardship Policy providing guidance on management, retention, ownership, and sharing of U-M research data will go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

An accompanying procedural guidance document summarizes a number of resources and best practices for implementing the policy, such as defining the rights and responsibilities of researchers, providing guidance about what to do when researchers leave the university, and offering more detailed information about data reuse, storage and archiving. 

More information on the policy and updated FAQs can be found on the FAQ page of the Research Data Stewardship portal.

Good to Know: Tools to Screen for Predatory Publishing & Conferences

Think. Check. Attend. and Think. Check. Submit. are online tools that aim to assist researchers and scholars to judge the legitimacy and academic credentials of conferences, publishers and journals.

Think. Check. Attend. provides guidelines that help researchers to differentiate between an authentic conference and the ones they should avoid. Their online tools and resources will help scholars to recognize the characteristics of a trusted conference to attend and submit their abstracts through a number of steps and a checklist. 

Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications.

MTRAC Life Sciences Innovation Hub accepting applications

Made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, U-M Innovation Partnerships and U-M Fast Forward Medical Innovation, MTRAC Awards offer mid-stage translational funding to enable biomedical researchers from non-profit universities, research institutions and hospital systems across the state of Michigan to develop innovative technologies with high commercial potential. Applicants are anticipated to be 12-24 months from a University “exit” in the form of a license into a start-up company or to an existing revenue-generating company. Technologies must have an invention disclosure on file with the Innovation Partnerships. Awards will be up to $250K in direct costs with a cost share requirement. Apply by Oct. 12.

Reminder: Resources for Using SciENcv

Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae (SciENcv) is a researcher profile system for all individuals who apply for, receive or are associated with research investments from federal agencies. SciENcv allows researchers to document their education, employment, research activities, publications, honors, research grants, & other professional contributions to create multiple SciENcv profiles in official biographical sketch formats funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). In addition, the SciENcv application can be used to create the official NSF Current and Pending Support document.

Any researcher can register for SciENcv and create multiple biosketches, for different research projects or different funding agencies. You can find much more information about how to use SciENcv on their FAQs page. The central Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and U-M Library have resources and previous workshops available on how to create a biosketch in SciENcv specifically focused on NSF and NIH. These resources are available linked below:

Research events in July:

  • Teaching and Technology Collaborative Workshop, “Data, Data Everywhere! Managing and Organizing Data” - Thursday, July 13, noon-1 p.m., virtual
  • MIDAS, “Generative AI for Research - a Faculty Workshop Faculty” - Tuesday, July 25 & Wednesday, July 26, Central Campus Classroom Building, Room 0460, 1225 Geddes Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
  • Hanover Research Webinar, “Developing Great Proposal Aims and Objectives​” - Thursday, July 27, noon, virtual

    The Office of Research website is also updated regularly with research-related events and announcements, so we would encourage you to bookmark our landing page and subscribe to our Research News email list


Research Resource Highlight: U-M Research Computing Package (UMRCP)

Every month, the Office of Research will feature a resource and/or tool that is available for researchers. This month we are featuring the University of Michigan Research Computing Package (UMRCP), provided by U-M’s Advanced Research Computing (ARC) division of ITS.

The U-M Research Computing Package (UMRCP) is a package of no-cost supercomputing resources for researchers on all U-M campuses. UMRCP was developed by ITS to meet needs across a diversity of disciplines and to provide options for long-term data management, sharing and protecting sensitive data, and more competitive cost structures that give faculty and research teams more flexibility to procure resources on short notice.

University researchers, including UM-Dearborn faculty, have access to:

View the UMRCP Requesting Resources Guide to learn how to request UMRCP services. You can also contact the ARC Help Desk at [email protected]

Upcoming funding opportunities

The Office of Research publishes a list of selected funding opportunities, organized by college, every month on our website under Announcements. In addition, yearly grant calendars organized by subject area provided by Hanover Research are available there as well. Contact the UM-Dearborn Office of Research if you would like more information about submitting a proposal to any of the programs.