Michigan Drug Discovery

Funding Opportunities

Michigan Drug Discovery Pilot Grants

Twice per year, the Michigan Drug Discovery provides grant awards of up to $75,000 each for drug discovery research in all therapeutic areas.

Preference will be given to studies on novel drug targets with a clear medical need and commercial viability.

The expectation is that most of the awarded funds will be used in the following U-M core laboratories to accelerate the discovery process:


The budget can include up to $5,000 for work and supplies outside of the pre-approved cores.

Apply for funding

The Winter 2020 round of funding is currently closed. To be notified when we are again accepting applications, please follow the link below and complete the form.

SPARC-MDD Partnership

A  partnership between the University of Michigan and Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company (SPARC) provides financial support and industry resources to accelerate the development of potential new medicines for a wide range of diseases.

This partnership provides up to a total of $10 million in financial support and in-kind industry resources to move various promising drug-discovery research projects within the university toward the ultimate goal of new therapies for patients.

SPARC-MDD Partnership Grant

The SPARC-MDD Partnership Grant provides funding and collaborative support for therapeutics projects led by U-M faculty. Selected projects have the potential to receive the equivalent of up to $1.5 million over a three-year period, including in-kind support in areas such as medicinal chemistry and preclinical development.

U-M researchers are encouraged to submit proposals for translational therapeutic projects with a focus in the areas of oncology, neurodegeneration, and immunoinflammatory diseases, and complex drug delivery or formulation of existing drugs for these indications.

Learn more: SPARC-MDD FAQs

Competitive projects will have

  • a focus in oncology, neurodegeneration, or immunoinflammation
  • a clear clinical indication in areas of unmet medical needs
  • a clear statement of the scientific hypothesis to be tested, supported by target validation and elucidation of disease pathway biology
  • an explanation of the rationale and significance of the research
  • in vivo or equivalent proof of concept data
  • a lead compound or starting antibody structure that could still require additional optimization
  • demonstrable/viable IP strategy. If patents or patent applications have not been filed, there should be a strong potential for obtaining defensible intellectual property


Please see the SPARC-MDD FAQs and the application and for full details on the application process and requirements.

Apply for funding

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis with reviews scheduled two to three times per year. The deadline to be included in the next review cycle is March 1, 2021.

Please complete the form below to be notified of future review cycle deadlines.

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