The Research Incubator program at the Eisenberg Family Depression Center offers hands-on project guidance and support to accelerate depression research activity of early-career faculty and emerging scholars across the University of Michigan.

Early-career investigators have many creative research questions that have the potential to substantially advance the field of depression research. Yet, there are often hurdles in developing an impactful research program—including understanding resources, limited funding or protected research time, and lack of a research team. Our Research Incubator program addresses these gaps so investigators can make high-impact research advances more quickly and efficiently.

The program offers in-house statistical support and faculty guidance for research ideas from early-career faculty and emerging scholars. Participants can expect that our Core team will lead research work based on the proposed idea, including refining research questions, identifying relevant data sources, leading data analysis and interpreting results. 

Who should apply

Our goal is to accelerate impactful research advances and build a robust, interdisciplinary research workforce. This program is particularly valuable for investigators who:

  • Have experienced hurdles in seeing their research ideas through to completion
  • Are new to mental health research
  • Have limited experience working with secondary data
  • Have limited statistical capacity
  • Don’t have a dedicated research team 
  • Have short-term projects that are smaller in scope that can be completed in 6-12 months

New sessions are held annually and cohorts typically include 3-4 investigators. The application deadline for the next cohort will be announced in early 2024.

What to expect during the program

The content and structure of the program is tailored depending upon your unique needs. Program participation typically includes:

Once we receive your application, we’ll contact you to schedule a short intake meeting. The purpose is to better understand your needs and goals for your project to ensure they are a good fit for the program. If your application is selected, the program will begin in September 2023.

Work begins with a meeting with our core manager and lead statistician. We’ll review and refine your research question, discuss potential data sources and identify meaningful outcomes. We will also collaboratively define the deliverables you can expect from our team. We will provide a written overview of the components and expectations that participants can share with your department chair/division chief if needed.

Our lead statistician works with you to outline a research plan, which includes the project background, rationale and purpose, research questions and hypothesis, dataset characteristics, and specific research questions. We will also discuss the option to publicly pre-register analyses.

Once your research plan is developed, our statistician leads analysis efforts. They’ll communicate with you regularly (approximately bi-weekly) to update you on findings as they unfold.

Incubator Program participants and our team members meet quarterly to share project updates, discuss areas of overlapping interest and give and receive feedback.

As your project nears completion, you’ll have a wrap-up meeting with our faculty and lead statistician to review findings and plan for dissemination and next steps.


Curious about the Research Incubator program and want to know more? Email our team or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for additional details.