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.


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.

Consultation Form

    Academic Innovation Fund

    Designing the future of learning with the University of Michigan Community


    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.


    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.