What is the Academic Innovation Fund?

Established in 2014, the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) gives the University of Michigan community access to financial and in-kind support from the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI). The Center stewards the AIF with the goal of facilitating the creation, growth, and research of engaged and inclusive educational experiences.

Purpose

The AIF helps our partners build new technology, develop engaging and interdisciplinary content, design more flexible and personalized learning experiences informed by data, and host events and communities that bring thought leaders together. We develop projects that

    • extend academic excellence, 
    • expand the University of Michigan’s public purpose, and 
    • foster equity and inclusivity in higher education.

Rolling Proposals

Proposals to the Academic Innovation Fund are accepted on a rolling basis. The proposal process begins with a consultation about the problem you are trying to solve, after which projects that are aligned with the goals and mission of the CAI are invited to submit a formal proposal. The criteria by which proposals are evaluated include: 

    • contribution to the culture of innovation in learning on campus
    • type and scale of problem being addressed 
    • degree of innovation proposed
    • alignment with campus priorities and initiatives
    • support for equity and inclusivity in higher education

Current Priorities

  • Diversifying the disciplinary mix of offerings in our online learning experiences
  • Integrating online content and innovative technologies into the residential learning experience.
  • Experimenting with translating high-touch teaching practices, like apprenticeships and learning communities, into online learning experiences
  • Exploring new models for alumni learning
  • Creating new learning experiences and educational models that support learners’ skill acquisition, accounting for the shifts in the nature of work
  • Increasing access to and affordability of higher education
  • Creating conversations and opportunities for learning and knowledge exchange between U-M scholars and community experts
  • Exploring opportunities for students to become creators of learning experiences

Get Started

To begin the proposal process for the rolling AIF, please use the “Setup a Consultation” form below to tell us a little bit about the problem you are trying to solve. Within a week of receiving your request, a CAI staff member will reach out to schedule a consultation. If you are interested in applying to one of the open calls for proposals, please follow the procedures outlined below.

Open Call for Proposals

Abstract

Join the Center for Academic Innovation and Siemens as we work to create, preserve, and open access to the University of Michigan’s diverse wealth of knowledge and expertise.  We invite faculty to submit proposals to partner with us and develop innovative new MOOC specializations that provide real-world professional skill-building and explore the future of engineering. Proposals are due May 15.

Full Call Language

The Center for Academic Innovation is charged with creating a culture of innovation in teaching and learning in support of the University’s mission to serve the people of Michigan and the world.  By creating, preserving, and sharing knowledge, art, and purpose-driven academic values, we hope to develop leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and create a better future by partnering with incredible faculty and experts across the University. 

Over the last five years, the Center for Academic Innovation and our faculty partners have developed a broad portfolio of over 140 online learning experiences across the 19 schools and colleges.  These MOOCs and series highlight some of the incredible expertise here at the University, provide Michigan students with supplemental and exploratory learning opportunities, further position faculty and schools as leaders in their fields, re-engage alumni as lifelong learners, and help a global community of over 4 million learners on-ramp into disciplinary programs, level-up existing skills, and dive deeper into key areas of interest.

In 2025 there will be 100 BILLION connected devices providing data about everything from traffic patterns in far-away places to how much orange juice is left in your fridge. More data means more complexity, and the only way to thrive in a complex world is to harness and leverage the power of all that data. Siemens Digital Industries Software does that by digitalizing the entire production process from ideation to realization to utilization with tight integration that dissolves boundaries and connects the entire digital enterprise. Siemens wants to work with the best minds in engineering education to bring the power of digitalization to learners everywhere, and that’s where you come in.

We are now accepting proposals to develop MOOC specializations in one or more of the following cutting-edge domain areas: 

  • The Future of Mobility
  • Digital Twin
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Model-based Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

Chosen proposals will receive:

  • up to $75,000 in financial support from CAI and Siemens
  • at least $150,000 in in-kind support from CAI in the form of instructional design consultation, project management, and media production 
  • potential for shared revenue generated from specialization certificates
  • access to Siemens expertise that includes software, subject matter consultation, product support, project collaboration, etc.

Proposals should:

  1. Include an outline of 3-6 massive open online courses intentionally designed together to build professional skills for real-world application
  2. Be focused on one or more of the content areas listed above

Timeline

  • Proposals due: May 15
  • Selections announced: June 2
  • Specialization development and production: June onward

Preparing your Proposal:

  • Eligibility: Faculty Status Policy
  • Step 1: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your MOOC concept. Request a consultation by completing the form at the bottom of the page here
  • Step 2: Obtain approval from your academic unit. MOOC proposals must be submitted to the appropriate administrator in the lead faculty member’s School/College prior to submitting to the Center for Academic Innovation. If approval is not received before May 15, applicants are encouraged to submit their MOOC proposal to Academic Innovation, but the review committee will not make decisions until School/College approval is received.
  • Step 3: Submit your final proposal and a letter of support from your Dean’s office via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu 

Overview

At the University of Michigan we believe an informed, equitable, and empowered society is dependent on all members of that society adopting a learning lifestyle. To engage learners on campus, across the state of Michigan, and around the world, the Center for Academic Innovation is creating the Democracy & Debate Collection on Michigan Online. We invite faculty to participate in one of two tracks (short form content or massive open online courses) to create content of lasting value to support an informed society. We invite faculty to submit proposals aligned with the Democracy & Debate Theme semester. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis until May 15, 2020.

The Democracy & Debate Theme Semester

As the host of a Presidential Debate on October 15, 2020, the University of Michigan has a unique opportunity to engage our students and our community in the democratic process. Our collective goal is to leverage this moment to augment teaching and learning experiences for our community before, during, and after the debate on October 15.  

To take full advantage of this special event of national and international significance, we will be launching an all-U-M Theme Semester, Democracy & Debate, with collaborative programming that spans the university with a holistic set of initiatives across curricular and extracurricular realms. Through the Democracy & Debate theme semester, our community will seek to explore broadly three areas: free speech & exchange of ideas, what it means to be a member of a democratic society, and democratic engagement from a global perspective. 

These initiatives provide a unique opportunity for teaching and learning across multiple platforms, engaging all voices and modeling inclusive dialogue. We seek to promote the intellectual frameworks and the practical skills necessary for active engagement in the democratic process and for just governance here and abroad, and to connect our campus community to communities across the state, the nation and the globe. Our programming highlights the importance of the direct exchange of often divergent ideas and perspectives, helping our students and community make decisions that shape the direction of our nation.

The Democracy & Debate Collection on Michigan Online

The theme semester will include an effort led by the Center for Academic Innovation to create materials of lasting value, intended to engage a variety of audiences through Michigan Online, the university’s portal for online learning opportunities. The Democracy & Debate Collection will make online learning opportunities and resources available to our entire campus and alumni communities as well as learners across the state and around the world.

The Democracy & Debate Collection will be a compilation of online learning opportunities, educational materials and digital assets to be made available before and after the debate for the campus and alumni communities and broader public.  The Collection will include short form lessons, curated content from special events and talks (e.g. U-M Presidential Debate Events Series), Teach-Outs, and massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Our goal is to design and develop the Collection to take teaching and learning into venues and communities throughout the state and across the globe, while providing a dynamic suite of educational materials for faculty, students, and staff in on-campus classrooms, labs, learning communities, and student organizations.  The Collection will include learning experiences and content that serve to expose learners to unique interdisciplinary areas of emerging relevance and interest and will provide opportunities to share U-M research and expertise to a wide range of U-M and public audiences.

About the Center for Academic Innovation

The Center for Academic Innovation is charged with creating a culture of innovation in teaching and learning in support of the University’s mission to serve the people of Michigan and the world.  By creating, preserving, and sharing knowledge, art, and purpose-driven academic values, we hope to develop leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and create a better future by partnering with incredible faculty and experts across the University. 

We believe an informed, peaceful, equitable, and empowered society is dependent on learners everywhere adopting a learning lifestyle, and educational institutions creating and disseminating new knowledge to provide sustainable solutions to advance learning, facilitate problem solving, foster equity and inclusivity, and increase access and affordability.

Our faculty partnerships provide opportunities for experimentation at scales unachievable by traditional means, creating space for faculty to develop new pedagogies, conduct research, reach audiences, and develop tested strategies and resources that further enrich their residential courses.  They are able to engage in the generative, challenging, supported construction of world-class online learning experiences in close collaboration with the Center for Academic Innovation’s learning and technology experts.

Proposal Tracks

We have organized the call into two tracks, and we encourage you to consider which one might be best suited to the idea or topic you want to pursue through the grant:

Track 1: Short Form Thematized Content for the Democracy & Debate Collection

Overview:

Short (1 hour or less), discrete, learning items that can stand-alone or be supplemental to other learning experiences.  These could be explainer videos, expert interviews, podcast episodes, short lectures, TED-talk style pieces, demonstrations, etc, that help students understand the contexts, dynamics, implications, processes, rhetorical strategies, policies and issues at the center of the presidential debates, and the democratic process more broadly, and help prepare them for civic, political, and community engagement. Strong proposals will be thematically aligned with a clear target audience and well-defined scope. Short form content developed through this call for proposals may be incorporated in the U-M Teach-Out Series.

  • Stipend: $1,000 per project
  • Project Support: Approved proposals may receive additional support such as project management, learning experience design, media design, behavioral science, and public engagement.
  • Proposal Requirements and Eligibility: Faculty from the U-M Ann Arbor campus are eligible to apply (Faculty Status Policy)

Timeline: 

  • Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis until May 15, 2020. We plan to make up to 25 awards.
  • Content must be created by the end of August 2020.

Preparing your Proposal:

  • Step 1: Complete the proposal form
  • Step 2: Submit your final proposal aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line “Democracy & Debate Michigan Online Collection”

Track 2: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Related to Theme Semester Topics

Overview:

Massive Open Online Courses that help global learners level up their knowledge of and skills in policy development; political processes, structures, and theories; debate rhetoric and strategies: and fundamentals of local and national civic engagement.

  • Stipend: $10,000 for a single MOOC; $25,000 for a MOOC series of 3 or more courses
  • Project Support: Assigned project team with expertise in project management, learning experience design, media design, behavioral science, and public engagement.
  • Proposal Requirements and Eligibility: Faculty from the U-M Ann Arbor campus are eligible to apply (Faculty Status Policy).

Timeline:

  • Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis but no later than May 15, 2020. 
  • Approved MOOCs must be designed, developed and launched any time prior to Spring 2021.

Preparing your Proposal:

  • Step 1: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your MOOC concept. Request a consultation by completing the form at the bottom of the page here
  • Step 2: Obtain approval from your academic unit. MOOC proposals must be submitted to the appropriate administrator in the lead faculty member’s School/College prior to submitting to the Center for Academic Innovation. If approval is not received before May 15, applicants are encouraged to submit their MOOC proposal to Academic Innovation, but the review committee will not make decisions until School/College approval is received.
  • Step 3: Submit your final proposal and a letter of support from your Dean’s office via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line “Democracy & Debate Michigan Online Collection.”

The Center for Academic Innovation invites University of Michigan (U-M) faculty and students to apply for a “Quick Win” research grant to support small-scale projects on special topics in the areas of higher education and academic innovation. Proposals should consider how the focus of the work aligns with Academic Innovation (AI) initiatives and key priorities, and discuss how outcomes will complement ongoing work at AI.

Excellent proposals will: describe how the proposed research project fits the call topic, include clear research questions, outline the data sources and methodologies to be used, and highlight how this work can impact teaching and learning. With the goal of growing the academic innovation community, applications from those who have not yet collaborated with AI will be prioritized for support.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Typically funding is capped at $5000. Requests for larger amounts of support should consider applying to our Academic Innovation Fund.

Topics:

We have organized the call into four tracks, and we encourage you to consider which one might be best suited to the idea or topic you want to pursue through the grant:

    • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in learning environments
    • Supporting communities in informal and/or formal learning environments
    • Hybrid learning
    • XR

The call is organized by theme to support resource sharing among grantees and to allow for thematic presentations of research outcomes. These are the four tracks for the 2020 year, but we look forward to considering new tracks in the future and welcome suggestions.

Application Process

Please review the application form and submit it by one of the three deadlines. Notices regarding status will be sent out no more than four weeks after the proposal deadline.

For more information please contact Caitlin Holman (cholma@umich.edu)

FAQ:

What are examples of types of projects that would be well-suited for a “Quick Win” grant?

    • Pilot studies of implementing new technology or pedagogy in the classroom
    • Experiments or approaches you’ve tried out in your classroom, but have not yet had a chance to study
    • Secondary analysis of an educational dataset

What can this funding be used for?

    • Paying hourly wages for students/contractors
    • Transcription services
    • Software fees
    • Open access fees
    • Stock photography

Conference attendance/travel is not supported at this time. Please ask if you have questions regarding what this money can be used for.

Can this funding be tied to other grants?

Yes! In that instance, please make sure to highlight what about this funding request makes it fit as a Quick Win grant. For instance, is it new work that is coming out of previously-funded work? Is this grant intended to kick off work and then lead to additional funding? We’d love to support that kind of work.

What do I need to produce as a report on this work?

We would like to receive a final version of any publications or presentations you produce via this funding. We also understand that while many of the things explored with this funding may not be quite ready for publication, we would very much like to learn from the work you have done. With that goal in mind, we ask that all projects share a 3-4 page summary of work, describing what work was done, what was discovered, what you see as next steps for this work, and any challenges faced to enable us to support others better in doing this work. Ideally this document would be shared with AI within 2 months following the conclusion of the work, but no later than one year after the grant award.

In addition, we invite you to contribute to knowledge sharing and institutional learning in one or more of the following ways:

    • Give an Academic Innovation at Michigan Research presentation (public talk to the U-M community)
    • Promote the work with a blog post on the AI blog describing the work done and initial findings
    • Come discuss your work with AI staff over a Research Brown Bag meeting (casual lunch talk)
    • Join the staff of AI for an “Innovation Hour” (internal to AI talk, potential to be more casual or more formal)

We’d love to brainstorm other ways for you to share your work back with us – and are happy to customize as appropriate for the work. 

Overview

What is a socially just university? As scholars across campus explore this question this Fall, the Center for Academic Innovation is issuing a call for proposals for projects that explore the role innovation can play in creating a socially just university. We invite proposals aligned with our missions of 

  • Supporting diverse learners, both online and in residence, 
  • Creating inclusive and equitable learning experiences, and
  • Creating connections between the university and diverse publics.

Projects will be expected to fall into at least one of the following broad categories: creation, investigation, or adoption/adaptation. All faculty and full time regular staff appointed on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to respond to the call. Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis until the funds have been exhausted, but no later than May 1, 2020.

 

Details

The Center for Academic Innovation is charged with creating a culture of innovation in teaching and learning in support of the University’s mission to serve the people of Michigan and the world.  By creating, preserving, and sharing knowledge, art, and purpose-driven academic values, we hope to develop leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and create a better future by partnering with incredible faculty and experts across the University. Through our work we aim to extend academic excellence, expand public purpose, and end educational privilege. 

Over the course of this fall semester, Academic Innovation invites proposals to our Academic Innovation Fund for projects that will help University of Michigan grow to be the leading socially just university of the 21st century.  We invite proposals aligned with our goals of 

  • Increasing access to higher education for individuals that are from underrepresented and under-resourced communities
  • Increasing the affordability of higher education
  • Supporting diverse learners, both online and in residence, 
  • Creating inclusive and equitable learning experiences, and
  • Creating connections between the university and diverse publics.

Criteria

Projects will be expected to fall into at least one of the following broad categories: creation, investigation, or adoption/adaptation:

Investigation Projects

Investigation proposals may include requests for in-kind resources from the Center for Academic Innovation. Allowable expenses include funding for student support, analysis software, transcription services, and other related project needs. Investigation projects may be formal research projects, but they might also be pilot studies or user discovery research that will serve as the foundation for future projects.

Creation Projects

Creation projects are often developed using in-kind resources from the Center for Academic Innovation, but funds can be requested to hire other resources as needed. Some projects may include a modest stipend for faculty leads. Creation projects may include the design and development of new online learning experiences, new software to support teaching and learning, or new ways for the university to engage its publics.

Adaptation/Adoption Projects

Adaptation and adoption proposals will receive in-kind support from the Center for Academic Innovation so that project teams have the necessary access to tools and platforms. Allowable expenses include student support, transcription services, and other related project needs. Adaptation/adoption projects may include the integration of open educational resources and content into a learning experience or adoption of one of the software tools developed by Academic Innovation into a learning experience.

Timeline

  • Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis until the funds have been exhausted, but no later than May 1, 2020.

Proposal Requirements

Eligibility: All faculty and full time regular staff appointed on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to respond to the call.

Special considerations for DE&I MOOC Proposals: Proposals for the creation of new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) must be submitted by a faculty member.

Preparing your Proposal

Step 1: Request a consultation with Academic Innovation team members by completing the request form at the bottom of the page here.

Step 2: Complete as much of the DE&I proposal form as you can (if a MOOC or Research request please fill out those dedicated forms).

Step 3: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your program/portfolio concept and the draft of your proposal. 

Step 4: Submit your final proposal via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line “Socially Just University Call.” In your submission email, please include a paragraph describing how your project team is defining “socially just.”

Proposal Form: Academic Innovation Fund Proposal Form

Overview

The Center for Academic Innovation invites proposals from any University of Michigan Ann Arbor student or student team. Successful proposals will pursue creative work within the broad space of academic innovation, and will present a clear plan regarding how the work will be accomplished, along with the expected impact it will have. We encourage students to browse our website for inspiration regarding from Academic Innovation’s portfolio of work, but also invite proposals that take on challenges that exist outside of these efforts. Proposals should be sent to aif-proposals@umich.edu for consideration.

Proposals may be submitted by individuals and/or groups of students from the University of Michigan. A complete proposal should include a title, a description of the type of project, a summary of the activities to be initiated, a list of collaborators (with brief bios), a description of anticipated outcomes, and a budget. The maximum contribution from the CAI is $2,500. 

Please do not hesitate to contact Marissa Reid (Student Program Coordinator) with questions. Thank you!

Details

Fall 2019 Application Deadline: December 10, 2019

  •   Decision Date: January 10, 2020

Summer 2020 Application Deadline: March 13, 2020

  • Decision Date: April 13, 2020

Fall 2020 Application Deadline: July 1, 2020

  • Decision Date: August 1, 2020

Winter 2020 Application Deadline: October 30, 2020

  •  Decision Date November 30, 2020

 

Funding: Up to $2,500 per award

Allowable Expenses (this is an incomplete list – please ask if you have other items you’d like to apply for funding to cover): 

  • Technical supplies (computers, projectors, databases, server costs)
  • Travel
  • Printing
  • Software licensing
  • Postage
  • Conference facilities
  • Rentals
  • Publication
  • Consultant fees
  • Speaker fees
  • Promotion & Marketing
  • Catering

Overview

Join the Center for Academic Innovation as we work to remove barriers of access to exceptional U-M learning experiences and to consider new approaches to engaging with learners at different stages of life and career. We invite academic units to submit proposals to partner with us to develop a fully online or hybrid degree program that is part of degree program portfolio. Strong proposals will identify opportunities where the degree program can be combined with open content to create a variety of pathways for learners to engage as part of the Michigan community. We encourage academic units to embrace strategic rebundling of content and the creation of program portfolios that leverage our strengths in graduate education so we can explore new opportunities and new modes of learning and engagement. Proposals will be accepted throughout the winter semester on a rolling basis until May 1, 2020; academic units will have additional opportunities to propose a program in the spring-summer term.

Details

As the University of Michigan broadens our efforts to develop and deliver online and hybrid degrees, there exists a unique opportunity to shape the future of higher education by leading online education into new pathways that meet the needs of a diverse population of lifelong learners. We invite academic units to work with the Center for Academic Innovation as we work to remove barriers of access to exceptional U-M learning experiences and to consider new approaches to engaging with learners at different stages of life and career.

We encourage academic units to explore opportunities to strategically rebundle content to

create online program portfolios. The portfolio approach combines degree programs with open

learning experiences—such as massive open online courses, a MicroMasters program, or a MasterTrack certificate—to create a variety of pathways for learners to engage as part of the Michigan community. Online program portfolios leverage our institutional and academic unit strengths to explore new opportunities and new modes of interdisciplinary learning and engagement, providing innovative learning experiences of various durations, commitment level, and depth of study. This approach is key to our institutional mission of making high quality learning experiences that promote multidisciplinary problem solving and diversity, equity and inclusion while being affordable, accessible at scale, and available for global and lifelong learners.

Criteria

Academic units should take the following criteria into consideration. These criteria will be used to evaluate and prioritize the use of seed funding for new and exemplary online and hybrid programs.

Strong proposals will: 

  • Further establish U-Ms position as a leading institution shaping the future of learning and the future of higher education;
  • Show clear alignment with institutional priorities around multidisciplinary problem solving; global and lifelong learning; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and access and affordability;
  • Embrace strategic rebundling and the creation of program portfolios that leverage our strengths in graduate education so we can explore new opportunities and new modes of learning and engagement;
  • Demonstrate pathways to financial sustainability and innovative business models relative to a rapidly changing market landscape;
  • Consider opportunities to leverage optimal centralization/decentralization of capacity in order to ensure excellence and sustainability at the program, portfolio, and institutional level 
  • Increase our ability to make high quality learning experiences accessible at scale and available for global and lifelong learners; 
  • Address unmet learner/market needs through innovative pedagogy and novel curricular design and student experiences;
  • Demonstrate clear alignment with academic-unit level strategy and reflect areas of existing or emerging strength;
  • Demonstrate clear commitment and readiness of academic unit leadership, faculty, and other key contributors.

Timeline

  •  Proposals will be accepted throughout the winter semester on a rolling basis until May 1, 2020; academic units will have additional opportunities to propose a program in the spring-summer term.

Proposal Requirements

  • Eligibility: All academic units are eligible to submit a proposal.
  • Special Considerations for OHP Proposals:
    • Online and Hybrid Program proposals must be accompanied by a letter of support by the proposing School/College’s dean. 
    • It is strongly recommended that academic units consult with staff in the Center for Academic Innovation prior to submitting a proposal. 

Preparing your Proposal

Step 1: Request a consultation with Academic Innovation team members by completing the request form at the bottom of the page here.

Step 2: Complete as much of the OHP proposal form as you can.

Step 3: Meet with Academic Innovation team members to discuss your program/portfolio concept and the draft of your proposal. 

Step 4: Submit your final proposal via email to aif-proposals@umich.edu with the subject line “Online and Hybrid Programs Call”

Proposal Form: Online and Hybrid Program Proposal Form

Setup a Consultation

To begin the proposal process for the general Academic Innovation Fund, please use the form below to tell us a little bit about the problem you are trying to solve. Within a week of receiving your request, a CAI staff member will reach out to schedule a consultation. If you are interested in applying to one of the themed calls for proposals, please follow the procedures outlined on the page for that call.

Academic Innovation Fund

Designing the future of learning with the University of Michigan Community

2014

Established in 2014, the AIF enables the Center for Academic Innovation to provide financial and in-kind support for the purpose of growing a culture of innovation on campus

175

Initiatives across all 19 Schools & Colleges have been developed leveraging the AIF. Collectively, these have reached 90% of current U-M undergraduates, and nearly 4 million global learners.