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Distinguished University Innovator Award

Past Distinguished University Innovator Award Recipients

View a list of past recipients for the Distinguished University Innovator Award.


A current member of the tenure/tenure track or research faculty, or a team of up to three (3) faculty members. Nominations of outstanding women, minorities and members of other groups historically underrepresented in their disciplines are encouraged.


Honorarium of $5,000 to the individual recipient or shared by the team recipients. The recipient is invited to deliver a lecture on a topic related to his or her accomplishments in innovation. The U-M Office of Research sponsors the award.

Selection Criteria

The Distinguished University Innovator(s) will have accomplished one or more of the following:

  1. Developed a breakthrough technology and demonstrated its transformational potential relative to an otherwise conventionally accepted practice or market;

  2. Taken a significant innovation developed in the University through to market-readiness, either through partnership with a commercial enterprise, or by starting a company;

  3. Demonstrated a new method or means for moving innovations from the University into the private sector through the establishment of partnerships or other relationships that promote the strategic or economic position of the region, state or nation.

Nomination Guidelines

Any member of the U-M community may submit a nomination. In the Nomination Packet, include:

  • Nomination Questionnaire

  • A one-page description describing actions by nominated individual or team to promote innovations, technologies or activities to support innovation;

  • Nominee CV;

  • Three letters of support, from a range of constituents to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the individual's or team's impact on innovation.

Deadline and Submission Instructions

The nomination deadline is Wednesday, January 11, 2017. Please forward each nomination as one PDF file to Ann Leffler (


By consensus of the U-M Office of Research, Award Advisory Committee appointed by the Vice President for Research, and with concurrence of the Vice President for Research.

Announcement of Award

Recipient(s) will be announced in March 2017. The award recipient's lecture and reception will he held in spring 2017.

Points to consider in support of nomination

This award is open to a current member of the tenure/tenure track or research faculty, or a team of up to three (3) tenure/tenure track or research faculty members among all U-M campuses, schools, colleges and units.

More information

Please contact Ann Leffler in the U-M Office of Research (