Research ramps back up

A closeup of a University of Michigan student wearing a mask looking through a microscope

Research and scholarship activity gradually ramped up during FY 2021, as the university developed and implemented a series of important public health guidelines to ensure the health and safety of its research community. Their vigilance and dedication to safety allowed for most laboratories and research spaces to remain operational last year, which enabled innovative work to continue across all three campuses.

“Our research community experienced a series of challenges that none of us could have ever predicted, and yet, because of our tremendous commitment and expertise, U-M continued to develop and implement solutions to critical issues ranging from climate change and firearm violence to driverless vehicle technology and systemic racism,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

During a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic caused rapid declines in academic research productivity nationwide, U-M maintained its reputation as a leading public research university with $1.58 billion in annual research volume.

As part of its commitment to serving the world through research and scholarship, U-M continued its efforts on translation and commercialization during FY 2021 so that society could benefit from university innovations. The result was 23 startups, 502 inventions and a record 287 license and option agreements with companies seeking to commercialize U-M research discoveries.

“As it has for more than 200 years, Michigan research triumphed,” President Mark Schlissel said. “I commend the faculty of the University of Michigan for their dedication to research excellence during such a difficult time. Their work creates incomparable levels of knowledge and understanding for our society and provides an incredible return for the people of our state and nation who support public research universities.”