The Michigan Engineer News Center

More than a ribbon

The MCubed Diamond Program allows you to challenge researchers from all areas of expertise to work together and solve a common, compelling problem.| Short Read

Yellow. Red. Pink. There’s a color for every cause. You already wear the ribbon to display your passion to the world. But what if you could be more directly involved?

Enter the MCubed Diamond Program, which allows you to challenge researchers from all areas of expertise to work together and solve a common, compelling problem.

Whether your passion is cancer, clean water, transportation or any other challenge so great that it will require experts from a variety of fields to solve, you now have the power to bring those minds together.

What is MCubed?

When the University of Michigan launched MCubed in 2012, it had high hopes of breaking through virtual walls of academic disciplines and overcoming funding hurdles that have historically kept researchers from coming together and advancing novel ideas.

The experiment worked.

Of the 220 trios of faculty, or “cubes,” that formed, 60 groups have either submitted or published studies in peer-reviewed journals, and 11 teams have filed invention disclosure reports. 31 cubes have brought in a total of $20M from funding agencies outside the university.

The Holy Braille, for example, is a collaboration between a jazz percussionist and engineers to make a better Braille computer display. Experts in chemical engineering, biology, and ecology have developed a specially etched glass slide called a microfluidic reactor to quickly find algae combinations that efficiently make biofuel. And a cancer biologist, an epidemiologist and a mathematician are looking into how head and neck cancers are linked to high-risk HPVs, the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Making a Diamond

But that was just the beginning. Now you can join the MCubed Diamond Program.

The program allows people to fund cubes around a specific goal or problem. Once the funder’s challenge is posted on the MCubed website, researchers will propose approaches. Working with MCubed, you can identify the approaches that most closely align with your own vision. Once a project leader is selected, faculty experts from other fields join and the cube becomes a reality.

“It’s ideally suited for a funder who’s interested in a problem or a social challenge that demands a multidisciplinary approach,” said Mark Burns, T.C. Chang professor of engineering and the program’s director. “It invites researchers to think about issues in different ways, and propose a variety of innovative solutions.”

Portrait of Valerie Johnson


Valerie Johnson
MCubed Managing Director

Michigan Engineering


400 NIB, Suite G241

The outside of the Ford Robotics building

U-Michigan, Ford open world-class robotics complex

The facility will accelerate the future of advanced and more equitable robotics and mobility | Medium Read