Fast Forward Medical Innovation Fellowship Program
FFMI fellowship

Fast Forward Medical Innovation

We offer a unique fellowship program that provides valuable work experience.

The Fast Forward Medical Innovation Fellowship Program is a 6-12 month, part-time, action-based training program that educates U-M doctoral students and postdocs on the business elements of commercializing biomedical technologies.  The program offers two tracks – Technology Commercialization and Academic-Industry Collaboration – with unique experiences to engage the participating fellows and accelerate the development of life-saving therapies, devices, software tools, and other technologies.

The program acts as a foundation on which participants can begin building a successful career path. Fellows receive one-on-one mentorship from FFMI team members, as well as unique hands-on learning and targeted projects that will develop their strategic understanding, knowledge, and skills.

Fellows, while working as part of the FFMI team, will build contacts within the U-M research enterprise and learn how their role contributes to the success of biomedical innovation at the University of Michigan.

Fast Forward Medical Innovation offers a comprehensive collection of educational programs and training tailored for busy faculty, students, clinicians, and researchers across the University of Michigan, and across the state, region, and nation.

Programs & Courses
Experiential Tracks
Technology Commercialization Track

The Technology Commercialization Track has a focus on assisting academic faculty and project teams with business case development for a promising innovation. The fellowship is a partnership between FFMI and the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Key activities for the technology commercialization track include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting market research and opportunity sizing
  • Conducting patent searches and competition studies
  • Researching monetization strategies
  • Identifying funding resources and assisting with applications
  • Connecting with on-campus and off-campus partners (e.g., engineering, business, etc.)
Academic-Industry Collaboration Track

The Academic-Industry Collaboration track has a focus on supporting and interacting with the FFMI Business Development team during the outreach and execution of key academic-industry agreements such as sponsored research, fee-for-service, consulting, and more. Key activities for the Academic-Industry Collaboration track include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct engagement with Business Development personnel
  • Active involvement in academic/industry discussions 
  • Research budget and negotiations
  • Due diligence in market research activities



Who Should Apply?

Doctoral students (second year minimum) or postdoctoral graduates at the University of Michigan that are interested in the intersection of business and life-science research for the purpose of technology commercialization.

Work Hours

This is a part-time (up to 10 hours per week), remote, work agreement as part of the FFMI team.

Participants must have the ability to balance their research and scholarly activities as part of their doctoral/postdoctoral program with the demands of the FFMI Innovation Fellowship.

Fellowship Timeline

Applications for two fellowship positions (1 per track) are accepted from January to February each calendar year.

Fellows must commit 6-12 months to the program, depending on their status and responsibilities within their respective doctoral/postdoctoral program.

Application Materials

Cover Letter - Describe why you are interested in the FFMI Innovation Fellowship. Please be specific to the track experiences and how the opportunity will help you develop personally and professionally to achieve your short and long-term goals.



Must be a U.S. citizen or have a green card

Open to current U-M Ph.D. graduate students or postdoctoral fellows


Excellent written and oral communication skills

Ability to independently manage projects

Professionalism and ability to work in multidisciplinary environment

Work authorization to allow this type of appointment

Proficient in Microsoft office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)

Willingness to learn new skills with particular focus in the biomedical sciences

Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Must be self-directed, reliable, demonstrate exceptional communication and interpersonal skills

Frequently Asked Questions

The program is for current doctoral students – in their second year or later – or postdoctoral graduates.

The program offers a competitive hourly rate based on qualifications and experience.  Participants must verify that accepting payment does not violate any doctoral/postdoctoral program stipends, work-study, or tuition requirements.

  • Cover Letter: Describe why you are interested in the FFMI Innovation Fellowship – be specific to the track experiences, and how the opportunity will help you develop personally and professionally to achieve your short and long-term goals.
  • Resumé

All applications will be reviewed by the FFMI Innovation Fellowship Program committee.  Finalists will be invited to participate in one round (perhaps more) of in-person or virtual interviews.  One candidate for each of the tracks will be selected and notified of acceptance. 

No – this is a part-time experience conducted during your doctoral program or appointment as a postdoc.  Therefore; participants must be able to balance their research and scholarly activities as part of their doctoral/postdoctoral program with the demands of the FFMI Innovation Fellowship.

Past Fellows
FFMI-Robert Goldsmith Robert Goldsmith
Innovation Fellow, Technology Commercialization Track (2023-2024)

“The FFMI Innovation Fellowship was a transformative experience that provided me with invaluable insights into the decision-making involved in medical device commercialization. Diving into the specifics of start-up problem solving with real entrepreneurs here at U of M was highly conducive towards further developing my professional skills and understanding of the industry. On top of that, the personal mentorship I received from the highly experienced FFMI team surrounding funding, intellectual property, and regulatory considerations has provided me with a wealth of knowledge that will carry me forward into my career in pharma/biotech. I highly recommend the program to anyone interested in gaining additional insight into how to successfully bring an idea to market in the scientific space.”
Contact Us
North Campus Research Complex (NCRC)
Building 520, 3rd Floor
2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800
Phone: 734-615-5060
About Us
Fast Forward Medical Innovation is a unit of the Medical School Office of Research, where our mission is to foster an environment of innovation and efficiency that serves the Michigan Medicine research community and supports biomedical science from insight to impact.