When you are fortunate to be chosen for a position like mine, you inherit many legacies from prior leaders. One of the great legacies I inherited from Drs. Gil Omenn and Bob Kelch was support for the Biological Sciences Scholars Program (BSSP).
Started in 1998, the BSSP was created as a vehicle for recruiting the most promising junior scientists in the world in order to bolster the intellectual, lab-based research environment at the Medical School. The idea was that funding would be set aside to enrich recruitment packages for scientists who, through their training, early work and burgeoning reputations, were considered superstars and future leaders in their fields. With the BSSP framework and funding pool, the University of Michigan enhanced its role as a major competitor in the world of researcher recruitment.
Today, the BSSP continues to position Michigan as a preferred destination for emerging brilliant researchers by offering junior scientists an opportunity to work in the Medical School, LSA and the Life Sciences Institute, as well as access to the vast resources that abound across the U-M campus. In many ways, the BSSP gets at the heart of what we are doing on a grander scale at the NCRC by creating an environment that enables discovery through collaboration across disciplines.
Jointly funded by the Health System and the Provost’s Office, the BSSP has successfully recruited 76 scholars, 66 of whom have remained at U-M to cultivate rich research careers and further our reputation as a hotbed of scientific discovery.
To get a true sense of the BSSP’s impact, I invite you to watch this brief video and hear from Drs. Maria Figueroa, Jason Gestwicki, Cristen Willer and Xiaochun Yu, four of the program’s stellar scholars: