Diamond Program

The MCubed Diamond Program is now open!

The MCubed Diamond Program provides an unprecedented opportunity for donors to invest in research projects that align exactly with their interests, from global health to education, and sustainability to social justice.  Funders set the parameters for each project, interact with the University of Michigan to identify faculty experts to lead their project, and receive compelling updates about the work of the team through the MCubed website.  See "Find Diamond Projects Now" below for specific instructions.

How does it work?

1.  Donors provide the funding and post their project concept on the website.

2.  Faculty introduce themselves and their ideas to donors on the website.

3.  MCubed works with development and donors to identify the owner of each project.

4.  The project owner invites collaborators to join the team, and together, they form a cube. 

As in the pilot program of MCubed, all cubes must include three faculty from at least two units, and once cubing occurs, $60,000 is immediately made available to start the project.  Unlike the pilot cycle, no unit or PI contribution is required!

How do I participate?

Faculty:  All faculty collaborators in the MCubed website will automatically receive a token to participate in the MCubed Diamond Program.  Faculty who would like to be added to the system should contact their MCubed Unit Liaison or the MCubed office at mcubedinfo@umich.edu

Donors:  There are three paths for funding diamond projects.  

1. Gift - $75,000 - Alumni and friends can access the power of UM researchers to address issues that ignite their passions.

2. Sponsored Research - $80,000 - Industry partners can participate in MCubed at a reduced indirect cost rate.

3. Faculty Funding - $60,000 - Faculty can use discretionay funds to assemble multidisciplinary teams within MCubed. 

If you are interested in sponsoring an MCubed Diamond project or a block of cubes, please contact Wendy Palms at mcubedinfo@umich.edu.  

Find Diamond Projects Now!  (faculty only)

  1. Log-in to the MCubed website using your uniqname and Kerberos password.  (You will see "Log In to start exploring" on the top right.)
  2. Click “Find a Project” at the top of the page.  It will take a few seconds for projects to load.
  3. Go to the "Search Options" box on the right.  Within that box, click "advanced search options".  
    --Under Type, select "MCubed Diamond"
    --Under Project Status, select "All."
  4. In the bottom of the "Search Options" box, click “apply.”  All diamond projects currently open will appear on your page.

Once you have found a project you are interested in, post a comment about how you would approach the problem or project.  You are welcome to highlight your related expertise as well.  All MCubed Diamond Program projects will be posted for a minimum of two weeks. Project owners will be notified by MCubed.  After committing their token, owners can invite collaborators to join their cube. 

How will I know when additional diamond projects are available?

In the future, Diamond Projects will be announced on a rolling basis.  If you are a faculty token holder/collaborator, and you wish to receive automatic notification when new projects are posted, you must set this preference within your MCubed personal profile.  Here is how:

Log into the MCubed website, using your uniqname and Kerberos password.  Click on your photo on the right side of the top navigational bar. Choose “My Profile” from the dropdown box.  Click “Edit Profile.”  Scroll to the bottom of the window that opens up, and check the box that says “Get Notice When New Project Processed.”  Hit “Save.”  You’re all done!

Program Requirements

One token per investigator – Each independent investigator currently in the MCubed website will receive one diamond token. Any U-M faculty member who is not currently in the MCubed website can email mcubedinfo@umich.edu to be added to the system, per his/her unit's terms of eligibility.

Three tokens to a cube – Tokens must be redeemed in groups of three to form a “cube.”  If a donor has posted multiple projects around the same theme - a block of cubes may be formed.(Example:  9 investigators can form 3 cubes to fund 3 students or postdocs).  Each cube receives $60,000 with no contribution from the unit or individual investigators.

Interdisciplinary cube – The cube must be interdisciplinary; i.e., each cube must contain tokens from at least two different units. The units are defined as a school, college, LSA division, or participating research center.

Selection process – Funders may recommend a faculty project owner whose project idea best aligns with their interests.  MCubed then works with University of Michigan development officers and donors to identify the project owner.

Cube is new research – All three investigators of a cube at the time of cubing cannot be simultaneously on an existing externally sponsored research project.  Also, the funds cannot be used for extending existing, externally funded projects, or for projects with sufficient preliminary results for funding by external agencies (e.g., NIH, NSF).

Cube supports students/postdocs – In line with the educational mission of MCubed, significant funds must be used to support University of Michigan undergraduate students, graduate students or postdocs.  Up to 50% of the funds can be used for equipment, supplies, lab fees, subject incentives, staff support, and travel. Investigator salaries are not allowable expenses.

Symposium participation – Each cube will be represented at MCubed Innovation Symposia, with details forthcoming.

End date for funding period -- The $60K must be spent 18 months from the date of cubing.  Any overdraft will be divided equally among the three collaborators' overdraft shortcodes.  Any remaining funds will return to MCubed.

Other things - Investigators who violate any of the requirements or principles of the program may have their funding revoked.  Additional restrictions for your unit may apply.

Frequently Asked Questions about MCubed Diamond Program

How is the MCubed Diamond Program different from the MCubed Pilot Cycle?

The MCubed Diamond projects are fully funded by external donors. No additional monetary contribution from faculty investigators or their units is required. Projects will be cubed as they are added by donors.

If I have a cube in MCubed 2.0, am I able to participate in the MCubed Diamond Program?

Yes, you may participate in both programs at the same time.  Eligible faculty receive one token for each program, which means you may invest your MCubed 2.0 token in a cube that's funded by the Provost, your unit, and you (depending on your unit's funding model), and you may invest your diamond token in one cube in the MCubed Diamond Program.


1. You and your collaborators cannot simultaneously be on an external grant together.

2. The two projects cannot be exactly the same, and the two teams cannot be exactly the same.  You need at least one different collaborator on each cube.

How will the project owner be selected for diamond cubes?

Donors review comments posted by faculty.  At the end of the commenting period (at least two weeks), donors will recommend a faculty member whose project idea best aligns with their interests.  MCubed then works with University of Michigan development officers and donors to identify the project owner.  Once the owner is selected, and he/she commits his/her token to the project, he/she can invite collaborators to join the cube.