At the University of Michigan, three is the number to reach. The school has announced a $15 million program called MCubed, which is designed to encourage trios of faculty members from different disciplines to come together on "high-risk, high-reward research projects," reports ScienceInsider's Michael Price. Starting in the fall, every professor in any department that has a research component will receive an IOU for $20,000 from the university. Once three researchers — each from different disciplines — have agreed on a project, they can register their project with UMich and turn in their IOUs to receive $60,000, with which they can hire an undergraduate, grad student, or postdoc, Price says. There can be more than three researchers on any given project, and the more researchers, the more money they receive — but only in factors of three.
"The program aims to fund about 250 projects during its first-year pilot phase. The goal is to help faculty members gather the type of preliminary data that are typically needed to submit a competitive grant proposal to a federal research agency or other funding source," Price adds.