The Massey TBI Grand Challenge aims to support researchers 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 were 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 timeframe can determine patient survival and have a significant effect on long-term function and disability.


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.



This year, 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.


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.