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Grand Challenge Program


Funding to support high-risk, high-reward research in critical care

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Grand Challenge Program


Funding to support high-risk, high-reward research in critical care

Grand Challenges target big problems and reward bold solutions

Recognizing the need to revolutionize critical care, MCIRCC’s Grand Challenge program supports high-impact proposals by funding milestone-driven research over a 12-month timeframe. Integrating medical, engineering, industry, and data experts, funding from Grand Challenges accelerates critical care research from bench to bedside.

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How It Works


How It Works


A PLATFORM FOR RESEARCH SUCCESS

The reality of research is that many great ideas never move further than that casual chat with a colleague, or from the notes scribbled down in the middle of the night. Research is costly and risky, and just having an innovative idea is not enough. But it is often those risky ideas that lead to transformational new technologies and treatments that could save lives.

The Grand Challenge model offers donor and industry partners a rigorous framework to help innovative ideas reach their fullest potential. Past efforts have influenced advancements in critical care research, education and patient treatment. Through an investment and commitment by donors and industry partners, investment in a Grand Challenge will help:

  • Remove financial barriers that keep high-risk, high-reward projects from being funded by traditional sources

  • Breathe life into novel research ideas, empowering the best minds in critical research and beyond to discover new and better diagnostic tools, monitoring techniques, and therapeutic treatments

  • Bring together leading scientists and key opinion leaders to present cutting-edge research, exchange ideas, and discuss the future of critical care solutions


THE COMPETITION

Grand Challenges begin with a ‘state-of-the-art’ discussion, followed by the release of a Request for Proposal. This two-part process begins with the submission of two-page proposals. We then invite the most promising teams to submit a detailed 10-page proposal and to ‘pitch’ their idea to our expert panel made up of clinicians, business development and external partners.

Grand Challenge funding is awarded to teams moving their projects along the research spectrum toward translational impact. The goal is to accelerate impact at the bedside; therefore basic discovery phase projects will not be funded. In addition, integrative collaboration across disciplines is encouraged; therefore proposals submitted by co-PIs from across disciplines are given first consideration for funding.

All funded projects are assigned project mentors to assist in executing their milestone-driven research plans. Projects involving potential product development also receive specialized commercialization mentorship, utilizing the ‘lean business model’ tools and techniques.

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Grand Challenge Research Accomplishments


A blueprint for breakthroughs

Grand Challenge Research Accomplishments


A blueprint for breakthroughs

THE NEXT STEP

With MCIRCC at the helm, many promising research projects have been funded through the Grand Challenge. Since 2015, 25 teams have received funding, going on to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals, present at national conferences, or obtain follow-on funding through other sources. Some projects have made it all the way to commercialization, spinning off four new companies.

LICENSED PRODUCTS

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previous grand challenges


previous grand challenges


traumatic brain injury

THE CHALLENGE

The Massey TBI Grand Challenge aims to support researchers to find new ways to diagnose, monitor and treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) during the early hours of care. This program is made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation.

Researchers are tasked with the goal of developing the most innovative diagnostic, device, therapeutic, and health information technology solutions that target the ‘golden hours’ of care after severe TBI. Treatment administered during this critical time frame can determine patient survival and have a significant effect on long-term function and disability.

COLLABORATING WITH THE DOD

Department of Defense (DoD) service members and families represent the largest U.S. population suffering from the impact of TBI. Through our partnership, the U.S. Army’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program brings expertise and resources to help accelerate the movement of translational research outputs into the field.

DoD Neurotrauma leadership members form part of the Massey TBI Grand Challenge panel, assisting in reviewing proposals for funding, and providing mentoring to each of the funded teams.

This partnership provides our researchers with an invaluable relationship with key TBI research personnel. Funded projects that drive toward proof of concept and human testing have the potential to receive follow-on funding from the DoD for solutions, therapies and products that can be used by DoD medics in the field.

FUNDED TEAMS

2018 WINNERS

2018 marked the fourth consecutive Massey TBI Grand Challenge, with thirteen teams submitting Stage 1 proposals. 22 U-M departments and centers were represented by the more than 40 participants, ranging from Surgery to Emergency Medicine, to Mechanical Engineering and Dentistry.  In Stage 2, ten teams were selected to submit 10-page TBI solution proposals and make an in-person Shark Tank-esque pitch to the ‘Wolverine Den’ panel, made up of clinicians, innovation and commercialization experts, national TBI experts, and representatives from the Department of Defense.

Presenters provided comprehensive multimedia presentations to back up their own thorough subject knowledge, making the most of their limited 15 minutes. Built-in Q&A sessions allowed for panelists to probe teams about any unknowns or perceived gaps. The Massey Oversight Committee, made up of University of Michigan critical care leaders, unanimously approved Wolverine Den recommendations, ultimately funding the six most promising projects (see abstracts at right).

2017 WINNERS

In 2017, nearly $700,000 was awarded to teams with high-impact, innovative proposals. From the many applicants, only 10 were invited to pitch their idea at Wolverine Den (MCIRCC’s Shark Tank). The Wolverine Den panelists—ranging from clinicians to commercialization experts—pressed teams during an intensive Q&A session. After significant deliberation, the panelists provided their funding recommendations to the Massey Oversight Committee for approval. Click here to read the full recap on the 2017 Massey TBI Grand Challenge.

2016 WINNERS

In 2016, MCIRCC launched its first ever Massey Foundation TBI Grand Challenge in partnership with the DoD. Nearly 100 faculty and staff members attended the two-day event where they had the opportunity to hear from MCIRCC’s DoD partners, a first-responder in the civilian setting, and several other U-M faculty and staff. With up to $500,000 available in funding, dozens of proposals were received. After a rigorous review process, five teams were awarded funding for their innovative research. Click through the slide show to learn more about the winning teams. Click here to read the recap on the 2016 Grand Challenge. 


SEPSIS

THE CHALLENGE

The Sepsis Grand Challenge aims to support researchers to find new ways to diagnose, monitor, and treat sepsis, one of the deadliest conditions worldwide.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by an extreme immune response to an infection, like “friendly fire” within the body. Chemicals released into the blood to fight the infection trigger widespread inflammation that becomes uncontrolled, causing significant organ damage. Sepsis has devastating consequences, including long hospital stays, recurring complications, and a high death rate.

The Sepsis Grand Challenge brings researchers together to develop solutions for improved patient outcomes at reduced healthcare costs. Clinicians and engineers alike were challenged to develop rapid, bedside diagnostics, personalized management of the immune system, and better solutions for “front-line” patient management. With more than $300,000 available in funding in 2015, there were six teams that proved themselves to be the "game changers" capable of revolutionizing sepsis care and treatment.

 FUNDED TEAMS

 Click to view portfolio.

Click to view portfolio.

2015 WINNERS

Recognizing the need to revolutionize sepsis care and treatment, MCIRCC's Sepsis Grand Challenge integrated medical and engineering experts with the goal of finding "game changers" that demonstrated the greatest clinical and market potential. The Grand Challenge strategy focused on three core requirements:

  • Solve a pervasive and urgent problem that will improve outcomes with the visionary end-goal of curing sepsis.

  • Form integrative teams comprised of clinicians and engineers to close the gap between scientific research, clinical workflow, and patient care delivery.

  • Merge innovative, world-class research with commercialization fundamentals to attract industry partners for speed to market strategies.