June 2024 video message

Hello colleagues and friends across the U-M community!

It’s finally summertime, and many of us are eagerly anticipating adventures and vacations.

Whether a road-trip or a plane-trip or a vacation stay, we might not realize it, but in many ways, we’ll have the research and innovations from U-M, and our work with the Department of Energy’s National Labs, to thank.

I’m so proud of the fact that we are a world-leading public research university. This past fiscal year, we reported a record of nearly $2 billion in research volume which led to critical advancements in areas ranging from microelectronics global infectious diseases to artificial intelligence.

We also had an incredible economic impact, including the disclosure of nearly 600 inventions and the launch of 25 new startups.

We’re accelerating our work on the future of transportation through a partnership with Oak Ridge National Lab and several other leading universities on a pioneering $11 million dollar effort to develop advanced batteries and fuel cells for electric vehicles.

Our researchers are also working with Idaho National Lab to strengthen safety and security at nuclear power plants, an important advance in carbon-free energy.

We also recently signed an agreement with Los Alamos to develop advanced new computing technologies – including artificial intelligence and sophisticated modeling techniques – to address some of the world’s most complex challenges, such as unlocking the potential of fusion as a limitless source of clean energy.

U-M has even joined with the National Labs to give us a better understanding of the dark and starry skies of summer nights. Through our engagement with the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument collaboration, which is managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, we contributed to the creation of the largest 3D map of the cosmos ever constructed.

In total, U-M has strong collaborative research agreements with six DOE national laboratories, including Argonne, Idaho, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Fermilab. 

These partnerships are so important.

For DOE’s 17 labs are wellsprings of discovery and innovation which have made profound discoveries – from detecting dark energy to mapping the human genome – and made advances that have impacted the lives of millions, ranging from improving automotive steel to revolutionizing medical diagnostics and treatments.

Through our engagements with the labs, we’re pursuing discoveries and developing innovations. Even more, we’re opening new opportunities for our students, staff and faculty, strengthening Michigan’s place in our growing knowledge and innovation ecosystem.

Leading these efforts is Skip Lupia, our Interim Vice President for Research and Innovation and this month’s Portrait of a Wolverine.

Skip is an incredibly experienced researcher, educator and administrator, with federal service across two U.S. presidential administrations.

He joined U-M in 2001 as a professor of political science and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research. After two decades here, he went on to serve as an assistant director for the National Science Foundation, and then a co-chair of the government-wide Subcommittee on Open Science for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In 2022, Skip returned to U-M as executive director of our Bold Challenges initiative, through which we are working together in new ways to use research to change our world. He’s continuing to lead these efforts in even greater ways in the Office of Vice President for Research.

We’re doing so much in research and innovation, yet as with the oncoming summer, I’m convinced our brightest days are still ahead.

Thanks again for joining us, and I’ll see you in July.