Rebecca Cunningham

Vice President for Research and Innovation


Office of the Vice President for Research
1109 Geddes Ave., 1300 Ruthven Building
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1079

Assistant: Karen Houghtaling, Sr. Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Research and Chief of Staff;
Assistant Director of OVPR Administration


Dr. Rebecca Cunningham is the Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Michigan, where she is responsible for fostering excellence in research, scholarship and creative practice across all three campuses, while upholding its mission to serve the public good.

During her leadership tenure, the university has expanded its research volume to a record $1.86 billion, while creating new mechanisms to better support the individuals who enhance research operations, with a strong focus on student and faculty success. Dr. Cunningham led the design and implementation of the first comprehensive review of the U-M research, scholarship, and creative practice enterprise. This collaborative exercise drives universitywide strategy designed to bolster discovery and impact, accelerate knowledge translation and support entrepreneurial activity, expand university engagement in statewide economic development, advance undergraduate student success through engaged learning, and strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion. In service to the creation of knowledge to support evidence-based solutions that address some of the greatest challenges of our time, Dr. Cunningham has launched multidisciplinary initiatives that range in scope from hydrogen and quantum research to arts integration and DEI.

A faculty member in the Schools of Public Health and Medicine since 1999, Dr. Cunningham previously served as the associate vice president for research-health sciences, where she oversaw research faculty affairs and partnered with colleagues across disciplines – from engineering to the social sciences – to facilitate and energize the university’s research agenda. During the course of her career, Dr. Cunningham has served in various leadership positions, including as associate chair of emergency medicine and director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored injury prevention center at U-M. She has vast experience as a researcher, educator of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral trainees, and emergency medicine physician.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Cunningham’s research has focused on injury and violence prevention and public health, with scientific collaborations that span engineering, health communications, transportation and public policy. Her research has focused on highlighting the needs of vulnerable, underserved communities, often approaching her work through a trauma informed lens. Dr. Cunningham has continuous federal research funding for 25+ years as Principal Investigator. She served on the Michigan Governor’s Opioid Abuse Commission, and often provides guidance and expert testimony across multiple levels of government on matters of higher education and the health of communities. In 2019, Cunningham was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Abbreviated Biography

Dr. Rebecca Cunningham is vice president for research and innovation at the University of Michigan, where she is responsible for fostering the excellence and integrity of research across all three campuses.

She has vast experience as a researcher, administrator, educator and clinician, including more than 20 years spent as an emergency medicine physician at U-M and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.

Cunningham’s career has focused on injury prevention, opioid overdose, substance misuse prevention, firearm injury prevention and public health.

She is the former Director of the U-M Injury Prevention Center, established a national consortium to improve firearms safety, served as associate vice president for research-health sciences and is the former associate chair for research for the U-M Department of Emergency Medicine.