Definition of Innovation: 

The development and implementation of new or altered products, services, processes, systems, policies, organizational structures, or business models that aim to improve treatment, diagnosis, education, outreach, prevention, and research with the long term goal of improving healthcare quality, disparities, safety, outcomes, efficiency, and costs.

Letters of Intent information 


Letters of Intent are reviewed for relevance to the Center’s Mission Statement, Vision Statement, Priority Areas and required content areas listed below:

  1. Objectives.
  2. Description of study – Practice question.
  3. Significance of study/Strength of Evidence.
  4. **Innovation.
  5. Relevance to the Mission and Vision of the Center for Innovation and Research should be explained.  Relationship to patient care delivery, quality, safety, outcomes, and cost should be described.
  6. Relevance to Sparrow Health System.
  7. **Speaks to potential to transform care? (Safety, quality, outcomes, and cost.)
  8. General description of Action Plan.
  9. Outcomes – Patient, nurses, system.
  10. Barriers to Implementation.
  11. Evaluation Plan.
  12. List of team and affiliation.
  13. One-year proposal timeline.
  14. Budget Estimate – typically $25K. (There are no indirects.)


Those projects which have been invited to submit a full proposal are reviewed with consideration to the following criteria.


  • Objectives need to be clear.
  • Does the project address an important clinical problem or a critical barrier? 
  • If the objectives of the project are achieved, how will patient care be improved, and/or clinical practice be improved or transformed? 
  • How will successful completion of the objectives change the methods, technologies, treatments, services, or interventions that drive patient care, i.e. quality, patient engagement, safety, cost, outcomes?  Is strength of the evidence articulated clearly?


  • Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?  Does the project include involved investigators from MSU and Sparrow?  Do they have appropriate experience to carry out the project? 
  • If the project is collaborative, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise as team members? 


  • Does the application challenge and seek to shift current or existing clinical practice at Sparrow paradigms by utilizing novel concepts, approaches or methodologies, or interventions
  • Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of approaches or methodologies, or interventions proposed?  Is it built on strong research evidence?  Is evidence provided for translation?  We need strong evidence of benefit and a clear, detailed protocol of what will be done. 


  • Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific objectives of the project? 
  • Is there a clear action plan?
  • Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? 
  • Will particularly risky aspects be managed?  Is there an analysis plan? Are milestones clear?  Metrics to measure the outcome exist and are applied and are well developed already tested for validity and reliability?  Include patient outcomes, practices, and system outcomes.  Barriers are addressed.  There is clear articulation of the criteria and measureable goals to ensure that success will be evaluated, and how will you know it is an improvement from current practice?


  • Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available for the project proposed?

Clear Evaluation Plan

  • Needed to determine effectiveness on cost, quality, safety, and patient outcomes.

Protections for Human Subjects

The committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria:

  1. risk to subjects.
  2. adequacy of protection against risks.
  3. potential benefits to the subjects and others. 
  4. importance of the knowledge to be gained.
  5. data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

If the project involves clinical research, are the plans for 1) protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion of minorities and members of both sexes/genders, as well as the inclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Budget and Timeline

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.  See exclusions for budget support.