Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, August 1, 2011

Equipment donations form basis for research breakthroughs

Faster innovation and increased auto safety are just some of the benefits that will be made possible through an IBM Employee Matching Grants Program. Donated equipment worth $120,000 was awarded to 10 U-M research teams launching new efforts in science and technology.

Lynn Johnson, chair of the U-M Unit IT Steering Committee and assistant dean of Informatics and Innovation at the School of Dentistry, points out the importance of this type of gift: “Assistant professors earned seven of the 10 grants. Seed grants like these for new research stimulate longer term projects and frequently help form the basis of more in-depth studies and breakthroughs.”

Laura Patterson, U-M’s chief information officer and committee member, says there is a broad spectrum of fields that will benefit from IBM’s gift such as Alzheimer’s, ecology, drug designs, transportation and teaching.

“Information technology providers on campus and our industry partners really want to do more to promote teaching, learning and research,” Patterson says, adding the research studies are great examples of how technology expedites innovation. “These efforts demonstrate how in many ways computational discovery is shortening lab simulation processing time in a way that can’t be done in the cloud, advancing visualization of molecular changes or enabling new ways to collaborate.”

Each year the IBM Matching Grants Program matches employee contributions to U-M 3-to-1 in the form of equipment donations. The U-M Unit IT Steering Committee solicits proposals from faculty and staff in the spring and awards the equipment in summer.