What is Mcubed?
Mcubed is a seed-funding program developed at the University of Michigan to stimulate and support innovative research. The program grew out of the IdeaWorks project in the College of Engineering and is part of the University’s Third Century Initiative.
What can I do on the Mcubed website?
Investigators can create projects, search for collaborators and projects, and obtain research funding for their cubes on the Mcubed website.
What is a cube?
A cube is a funded project with three investigators. Investigators create projects and invite collaborators to join them. A project that has three tokens associated with it is ready to cube. The owner can then decide to cube the project. Once a cube is formed, the investigators cannot be changed.
What is an “independent researcher”?
The definition of an independent researcher varies from unit to unit. Please check with your unit contact for the definition that applies to your unit.
I have a grant with one investigator and a different grant with a second investigator. I want to form a cube with these two people on a totally new research area. Can I do that?
Yes. The restriction is that the three investigators cannot be working on a project together that already has external funding.
I’ve published several papers with two other investigators. We now want to form a cube. Will that be allowed?
As long as the project is new, innovative research, that is fine.
How does the Mcubed program define a “unit”?
For Mcubed, a unit is a school, college, or LSA division (Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities).
Patents and Intellectual Property
Will my disclosures under this Mcubed program prevent me from obtaining a patent on my invention?
The patent law on this issue will be replaced with new laws beginning in 2013, so it is not possible to provide a certain answer as to whether such disclosures will prevent you from obtaining a patent on your invention. However, in general, disclosures to those outside of the University may be considered public disclosures as set forth below. The more detailed your disclosure the higher the risk that such disclosure will be considered a full disclosure of your invention; by “dumbing down” your disclosure (i.e. disclosing the resolution of a problem without disclosing how it is accomplished), your risks are greatly reduced. If you are unsure or have any questions, contact U-M Tech Transfer and file an Invention Report.
Am I able to publish or disclose to others outside of the University the results of my research and still protect the commercial value of my intellectual property?
Yes, but since patent rights are affected by these activities, it is best to submit an Invention Report to Tech Transfer well before communicating or disclosing your invention to people outside the U-M community. There are significant differences between the U.S. and other countries as to how early publication affects a potential patent. Once publicly disclosed (published or presented in some form), an invention may have a restricted or minimal potential for patent protection outside of the United States. Be sure to inform the Tech Transfer licensing specialist assigned to you of any imminent or prior presentation, lecture, poster, abstract, website description, research proposal submission, dissertation/masters thesis, publication, or other public presentation describing the invention. If you have not worked with Tech Transfer before, you can email Director of Licensing Robin Rasor at email@example.com.
Am I able to share and disclose materials, research tools or intellectual property with others to further their research as part of a research collaboration?
Yes. However it is important to document items that are to be shared with others and the conditions of use. It may be necessary to have a Confidentiality Agreement completed to protect your research results or intellectual property. In order to obtain help for a Confidentiality Agreement, if you are sharing information for (a) a sponsored project, generally ORSP will help you or (b) purposes related to tech transfer, generally the Office of Tech Transfer will help you.
If you have an idea for a project, start by clicking “Create a Project.” Add as many projects as you like.
You are the owner of that project and can invite others to join you. Once you have three tokens, you can cube!
If you already have an idea and want to find collaborators, click “Locate Collaborators.”
Browse the profiles of researchers from across the University. Save potential collaborators in folders.
If you are looking for an interesting project, click “Find a Project.” Anyone can add new projects so check often!
Feel free to add comments to any project, or contact the project owner of the one you want to join.
When you have three collaborators in your project, you are ready to cube and start your research!
On your project page (you can get there from your profile page), click “Get Started” and follow the instructions. That’s it!
Step by Step Website Instructions for Interaction Phase (for first-come, first-served)
Step by Step Website Instructions for Requesting a Cube (for first-come, first-served)
Semi-Random Selection Procedure (for 1st and 2nd cubing phases)
One token per investigator – Each independent investigator in the program as defined by their unit (e.g., tenured or tenure-track professor) will receive one token. You will only receive one token campus-wide in the two-year period regardless of your affiliation with different units.
$20,000 per token – The tokens have a nominal value of $20,000, and the tokens expire at the end of the two-year period. The funding for the tokens is distributed between the Provost, Rackham, the units, and the individual investigators.
Three tokens to a cube – Tokens must be redeemed in groups of three to form a “cube.” Multi-cube groups are acceptable and encouraged for larger projects (e.g., 9 investigators can form 3 cubes to fund 3 students or postdocs). There will be 250 cubes funded over the two-year period.
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 or LSA division.
No Review – There will be no review as a condition for redeeming tokens.
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 – The funds must be used to support undergraduate students, graduate students or postdocs. Up to 15% of the funds can be used for other purposes including equipment, supplies, lab fees, and travel necessary for research (i.e., to research sites). Other travel (e.g., to conferences) and investigator salaries are not allowable expenses.
Symposium participation – The investigators of each cube must participate in the MCubed Innovation Symposia. The first symposium is scheduled to be in the Fall Term of 2013.
MCubed website for cubing – To receive funds, one participant must enter the project information (title of project, description, etc.) into the MCubed website, invite two other participants to join the project, and then cube the project. A shortcode for the project will be quickly available. Participants can post as many projects as they want but they can only add their token to one project.
End date for funding period -- The $60K must be spent by December 31, 2014. Any overdraft will be divided equally among the three collaborators' overdraft shortcodes. Any remaining funds will return to the Provost's Office.
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.
For Step by Step instructions take the