Office of Research update: September 2023

September 4, 2023

Check out whose work is getting funded, find new funding opportunities, and learn about ways UM-Dearborn can support your next project in the September update from the Office of Research.

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: Taehyung Kim, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Project Title: PFI (MCA): Smart Monitoring and Fault Identification for Resilient and Reliable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Direct Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Amount: $350,000

This Mid Career Advancement (MCA) project will provide a cost-effective and intelligent solution to accurately detect and recover from failures in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It will fill a current technology gap in the UAV industry by developing fault identification and compensation modules that offer economic value for potential commercialization. Upon completion, the next-generation UAVs could potentially implement intelligent fault detection and compensation techniques for electric propulsion systems to make sure that the UAVs can successfully complete their missions even with faults. The project will substantially improve the reliability of UAVs based on smart monitoring and fault mitigation techniques, minimizing additional hardware costs.

U-M Principal Investigator: Wencong Su, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Project Title: PFI (MCA): Enhancing Grid Reliability and Stability with Distributed Energy Resources
Direct Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Total Sponsor Authorized Amount: $349,897

This project seeks to develop multidisciplinary and integrated approaches to collectively improve low-inertia grid reliability and stability in the face of uncertainties and to explore a commercialization roadmap. The research will: (1) Establish a fundamental knowledge base of understanding the practical challenges of low-inertia power grids with high penetration of grid-forming inverter-based energy resources, (2) Design a holistic assessment framework and visualization tool to qualify the causal reliability relation between diverse grid-forming inverter-based energy resources and their collective impact on system reliability, (3) Develop a self-adaptive, robust, and stability-aware grid-forming controller capable of learning power grid behaviors, and (4) Leverage the existing power system testbeds to validate the real-world performance of the proposed stability-aware grid-forming controllers and enable research resource sharing among the resources-constrained research and education community in Southeast Michigan.

U-M Principal Investigator: Lei Chen, Mechanical Engineering
Project Title: Collaborative Research: Fundamental understanding of interface dynamics in solid electrolyte batteries with liquid metal anode
Direct Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Total Sponsor Authorized Amount: $261,619

Dr. Chen and team propose an innovative approach to study a novel solid electrolyte lithium-ion battery, the first to utilize a liquid metal electrode and a solid electrolyte, forming a liquid-solid interface at room temperature. Their objective is to understand how the transition between this liquid-solid interface and the solid-solid interface occurs during lithium-ion insertion and removal processes. Insight gained from this investigation will foster the development of new techniques that incorporate liquid metal electrodes in solid electrolyte batteries. 


Competitive Campus Grants Fall Cycle Applications

The first cycle of Competitive Campus Grant programs for fiscal year 2024 are available to apply to by UM-Dearborn tenured/tenure-track faculty. The following Competitive Campus Grant applications are due by 5:00 PM, October 16, 2023:

  • Research Initiation and Development (RID) Grants aim to assist faculty and research staff with the development of innovative, collaborative research proposals that will advance the UM-Dearborn mission. The program supports proposals which will help place the principal investigator (PI) and the research team in a strong position to receive additional, external funding from federal agencies, foundations, and/or industry.
    • Budget floor: $10,000; Budget ceiling: $20,000.
  • UM-Dearborn Scholars (SCH) Grants are intended to support research, scholarship and creative activities in the arts. This program is intended for projects with funding needs not usually addressed by other support programs within or outside the University.
    • Budget floor: $6,000; Budget ceiling: $10,000.
  • Thematic Research Planning (TRP) Grants are open to teams working closely together to solve problems that transcend the traditional boundaries associated with research programs, departments and colleges. Single PI proposals will *not* be considered- at least two different UM-Dearborn academic units should be involved, in addition to external partners. The aim of the program is to provide support for the development of competitive proposals to preliminary identified (by the team) external funding opportunities.
    • Budget floor: $15,000; Budget ceiling: $30,000.

More information about the campus grants program and eligibility can be found on our Campus Grants webpage.

Graham Sustainability Institute’s Catalyst Grants - LOIs due Sept. 18
A new round of catalyst grant funding is available for faculty at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses to pursue projects that address critical sustainability challenges by:

  • developing new, user-driven, collaborative research ideas, or
  • translating existing research for real-world application.

Catalyst Grants provide up to $10,000 over eight months. Approximately four grants will be awarded per cycle. Projects may address any sustainability topic. Applications are welcome from STEM fields as well as the social sciences, professional schools, and the humanities.

Faculty from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses are eligible to serve as Principal Investigator (PI) and should submit application materials through the online portal. A Letter of Intent (LOI) is required by Sept. 18.

U-M Arts Initiative Seeks Collaborative Project
The U-M Arts Initiative seeks large-scale collaborative projects to activate the campus; increase arts engagement for students, faculty, staff, and the region; and catalyze discovery through interdisciplinary partnerships. The Initiative is interested in a broad scope of projects that may be local, regional, national, or international and that reflect collaboration, involve multiple units/organizations, promote engagement and the growth of new and diverse audiences, and align with the mission of the University and Arts Initiative. Several projects will be selected each year that reflect a diversity of artistic, intellectual, and expressive modes, as well as audiences.

Grant amounts for this program range from $20,000 to $100,000. Applications will be accepted from all U-M personnel with authorization by their unit.

MICHR’s Clinical and Translational Science Pilot Award - LOIs due Sept 25
The Clinical and Translational Science Pilot Award aims to support new and innovative research projects relevant to clinical & translational science (CTS). CTS is a field of investigation focused on understanding a scientific or operational principle that underlies a step of the translational process, with the goal of developing generalizable principles to accelerate translational research. This opportunity is open to faculty and staff from all campuses, schools, and colleges at the University of Michigan.

Projects should propose addressing a common cause of inefficiency or failure in research projects at any stage of translation (T1-T4). Many of these causes are shared across targets, diseases, and therapeutic areas; therefore, outcomes are expected to produce foundational knowledge that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of translational research and ultimately improve health. Full details are available on 

A brief Letter of Intent (LOI) is required and can be submitted via UMMS Competition Space by September 25, 2023. Those with responsive LOIs will be invited to submit a full application.

To learn more about this funding opportunity, register for an informational webinar to be held on September 12th from 12-1 pm or visit the MICHR website for more details. If you have questions, please email the MICHR Pilot Grant Program at [email protected].

OVPR Research Visualization Workshop Series
Researchers are invited to join Steve Alvey, graphics specialist in OVPR’s Office of Research Development, on September 19 from 12-1 pm, for a virtual presentation on the best practices for developing conceptual figures and other visualizations that communicate research in clear, compelling ways. This is the first in a series of research visualization workshops; future sessions will include tips on working with designers and how to maximize emotional impact (the “wow factor”) in research figures.

In the first workshop, learn the fundamentals of design, including effective use of color and typography, that help grant proposals or presentations come together. Simple and appealing visuals also help broad audiences better understand complex data, ideas and impact. The presenter will provide examples of proposal graphics that exemplify best practices. Registration form.

IRB Liaison & Upcoming Human Subjects Information Session
Effective February 1, 2023, Elizabeth Molina became the new IRB-HSBS staff liaison for UM-Dearborn. 

Elizabeth will hold regularly-scheduled virtual sessions for anyone interested in learning more about working with human subjects and/or the IRB application and approval process. The first session this fall semester will be held on Sept. 20 from 2-3:30 PM. View the event page for full details.

Any UM-Dearborn faculty, staff, or students with questions about the IRB process can also contact Elizabeth by email at [email protected], by phone at 734-936-1943, or by dropping into the monthly Zoom sessions offered. Additional information about working with human subjects can be found at the IRB Health Sciences and Behavioral Sciences website.

MIDAS AI Summit and Tutorials
MIDAS and the Michigan AI Laboratory will jointly offer a training series to researchers across disciplines who are incorporating Generative AI in their research. Each half-day session will consist of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on tutorials for using Generative AI in research. . Learn more on the Transforming Your Research with Generative AI - Tutorials webpage. Current planned sessions include:

  • Oct. 2: Writing, Planning and Literature Review: Enhancing Professional Productivity with Generative AI
  • Oct. 18: Code Smarter, Not Harder: Harnessing Generative AI for Research Programming Efficiency
  • Oct. 25: Integrating Generative AI into Your Research Workflow
  • Nov. 2: Making Generative AI Better for You: Fine-tuning and Experimentation for Custom Research Solutions

Reminder: Resources for Using SciENcv
Effective Oct. 23, NSF will require all biosketch and current & pending support documents for senior personnel to be prepared using SciENcv. The fillable pdf forms will not be accepted after this date. We recommend that you take the time to register with ScieENcv and begin to create your documents in that system if you expect to be involved in a proposal to NSF in the near future.

U-M Library Services has put together this guidance page to help you get started. You can also request a one-on-one Zoom session with Dearborn Office of Research staff to walk you through this process. 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:

If you have questions about SciENcv, need additional support, or would like to schedule one-on-one assistance with setting up your SciENcv profile and documents, please email our office at [email protected].

Research Events in September:

Research Resource Highlight: UM-Dearborn Office of Research

Every month, the Office of Research will feature a resource and/or tool that is available for researchers. This month we would like to remind faculty about the resources and services available from the UM-Dearborn Office of Research.

We encourage all faculty to familiarize themselves with the different resources and sections of our website, including:

  • Research Development Services: The Research Development team and services aim to connect researchers to resources and increase the investigators’ competitiveness in obtaining extramural research funding. Faculty can make one-on-one consultation requests, utilize free Consultation and Writing Services, and explore resources for finding funding.
  • Campus Grants Program: The Campus Grants program is an important part of research development efforts at UM-Dearborn, and supports a wide range of research and scholarly activities for our faculty. Campus Grants funds also provide investments for interdisciplinary research. The Campus Grants webpage is frequently updated with our available grant programs, guidelines and due dates, as well as a Frequently Asked Questions section and examples of Previously Funded Projects.
  • Pre-Award Administration: The Pre-Award Administration team and services aim to provide the highest level of service possible in assisting faculty with assembling all the elements of their proposal package and ensuring there are no administrative errors. It is important for all faculty to submit a New Proposal Request Form at least 20 business days prior to a sponsor’s deadline. The webpage also provides an overview of the Proposal Routing & Submission process and Budget Preparation guidance.
  • Post-Award Support: The Post-Award Support (PAS) team is charged with supporting the UM-Dearborn campus by providing and continuously improving post-award research administration efforts for all units who have federal and non-federal externally sponsored projects (and related cost-share), internally funded research grants, and other project/grants that are classed as research (e.g. gifts). Learn more about PAS and how to contact them on our webpage.
  • More Help: This webpage is intended to provide basic information and guidance on common regulatory compliance requirements related to Human Subjects, Export Controls, and Disclosure of Outside Interests, and will continue to be developed to include other frequently asked about research topics.

Our 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. The Office of Research looks forward to assisting you on your future research endeavors!

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.