Medical school leadership renews commitment to invest in research strategy focused on people

April 2, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership

Kevin Tremper, M.D., Ph.D., signs the Memorandum of Understanding. Chair of the Anesthesiology Department, Tremper is the longest serving chair at Michigan Medicine.

Last month, the chairs from the departments of the U-M Medical School met for a forward-looking ceremony — the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a 10-year agreement to finance a Research Strategic Investment Fund. The objective is to provide ongoing financial support for a number of strategic investments, especially the retention, recruitment and retraining of research faculty.

The groundwork for the Research Strategic Investment Fund was actually laid more than 10 years ago.

In 2009, the university, with a majority financial contribution from the medical school, purchased the Pfizer research site for $108 million. The U-M Medical School’s funding for this initial investment was secured through a unique approach — a Memorandum of Understanding, under which department chairs in the medical school agreed to a 1.6 percent tax on all sources of revenue, generating millions of dollars each year over a 10-year period.

Housing cutting-edge shared resources like the DNA Sequencing Core, the Central Biorepository, and the Research Data Warehouse. A home base for highly collaborative units like the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, and Fast Forward Medical Innovation. And a new, state-of-the-art space for the world-renowned Pathology Department. These are just a few examples of how a far-sighted investment 10 years ago transformed the Pfizer site into the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC), a vibrant facility with over 3,000 faculty and staff from across the university.

The investment in NCRC has provided a significant return, and its high-tech research space has helped the medical school remain highly competitive. As the original MOU approached the end of its term, a growing consensus among leadership was that this unique funding approach should be continued to further the research mission and enhance the medical school’s international research stature. By renewing this financial commitment for another 10 years with the Research Strategic Investment Fund, the school will continue its trajectory as a global scientific leader.

“Along with the medical school dean’s financial commitments to research, the new Research Strategic Investment Fund will help us make huge strides when it comes to retaining and recruiting the brightest stars in biomedical research,“ said Steven Kunkel, Ph.D., the U-M Medical School’s interim chief scientific officer. “This significant investment in our faculty will accelerate the U-M Medical School research enterprise along our ultimate path — positively impacting the lives of patients.”

Questions about the Research Strategic Investment Fund? Contact the Medical School Office of Research at