The Mcubed program, housed in the University of Michigan’s Office for Research, distributes real-time seed funding to multidisciplinary, faculty-led teams—stimulating research that might otherwise be overlooked in more traditional grant processes. Mcubed attracted $20 million in additional grant money over an initial investment of $14 million, funding 222 research projects. However, to reach its full potential, the Mcubed portal would need to be completely rebuilt to provide much more powerful interactive functionality and virtually unlimited scalability.

Mcubed Desktop Full Render
Mcubed mega menu
Mcubed Diamond
Mcubed project flow


The Mcubed program’s success depends entirely on its portal, allowing users to browse cubes by category and express interest in joining a project. And it manages the gamified “token” system of funding projects based on multidisciplinary researcher commitment, unlike the traditional grant-writing process. Mcubed 3.0 brought the scalability needed to take the program to researchers and donors nationwide. Symmetri Technology performed a complete website rebuild on Drupal 8, an advanced platform with an impressive new object-oriented programming architecture built on the Symphony framework. We also migrated all data from 2.0, and significantly upgraded site functionality.

Mcubed iPhone mockup


By the close of the Mcubed 2.0 funding cycle, nearly 500 cubes had been awarded, representing $60 million worth of research investment into everything from public health exercise programs to infrared powered neural implants. The Mcubed staff received the President’s Staff Innovation Team Award for implementing newly developed best practices and creating new inclusive features. During the Mcubed 3.0 funding cycle, 221 cubes have already been awarded as of February of 2019.

agile improvement.

Symmetri matured our approach for Continuous Integration & Deployment (CICD) when the University of Michigan Mcubed initiative sought to add a significant new enhancement to their existing Mcubed Drupal 8 platform during 2019-2020. With a successful upgrade and relaunch of the web application on the Drupal 8 platform, Symmetri deployed an agile approach to develop a complex and evolving feature augmentation plan with multiple features being shipped to support community engagement.

Our internal project management team has been enhanced with the addition of key personnel that works with the University of Michigan Mcubed team using a SCRUM framework to plan Sprints, hold Sprint Reviews and Retrospectives. We work collaboratively with them to form a backlog of features and assess priorities and releases. This agile development process allowed for the deployment of new and complex features onto the existing Drupal 8 platform. Mcubed now boasts cluster, theme, and community interaction features that were not part of the original redesign.

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