Michigan Performance Research Laboratory

About Us

Science and technology are creating a host of new opportunities to transform the world of exercise and sport, including developments in areas ranging from improved helmet design to the analysis of sports data. The University of Michigan’s Exercise and Sport Science Initiative draws on expertise from a wide range of faculty across campus, Michigan Athletics and industry partners to interface, prioritize and conduct sport and exercise-related research and innovation.

ESSI Research Grand Challenges

Improved physical activity across the lifespan

Wise wearable sensor technology

Injury prevention, diagnosis and management

Individualized augmented reality and virtual reality

Sports and learning analytics

"With developments in areas ranging from improved helmet designs to the analysis of sports data, science and technology are opening up a host of new opportunities to transform sports and exercise."

− S. Jack Hu, U-M Vice President for Research

"This is a great opportunity for our coaches, trainers, and student athletes to work with faculty and industry partners to probe new approaches to optimizing both individual and team performance."

− Warde Manuel, U-M Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics

As part of the Exercise & Sport Science Initiative, industry experts will work closely with University of Michigan researchers to:

  1. Explore the potential of emerging areas of research
  2. Address key research questions underlying successful implementation
  3. Leverage investments in research with existing research at U-M
  4. Encourage new research in areas of interest
  5. Evaluate new ideas and approaches
  6. Help shape emerging standards and guidelines
  7. Build relationships with U-M and other partners
  8. Develop a pipeline of talent in relevant fields
Woman exercises with personal trainer

Seed funding for ESSI is provided by the Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research, and U-M Athletics. Learn more about ESSI Funding Opportunities.

ESSI Leadership

Lisa Rabaut

Lisa Rabaut

Managing Director

Ronald Zernicke

Ronald Zernicke

Co-Director

Ellen Arruda

Ellen Arruda

Co-Director