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  September 11, 2000

More Grants Received at Health Center in FY '00

The Health Center's strategic initiative to obtain more grants and awards to help improve its financial picture appears to be working.

In fiscal year 2000, which ended June 30, the Health Center received 506 awards - totaling $57,100,464 - for research projects. The amount is $9.6 million and 106 awards more than the institution collected in fiscal year 1998.

The increases did not just happen. A number of factors helped:

  • construction and fitting out of the Academic Research Building;

  • recruiting and hiring more than 40 new research faculty;

  • establishing and staffing clinical research programs; and

  • the University-wide push among faculty to win more grants and awards.

"I'm very pleased with these results," says Richard Berlin, the School of Medicine's dean for research. "The investment that the institution has made in research infrastructure and various supplemental facilities has enabled the faculty to develop more competitive proposals and to seize new opportunities."

Research plays a prominent role in the Health Center's new strategic plan and the expansion of basic science research is one of a number of strategic goals. To bolster existing research endeavors and to jump-start new initiatives, the leadership has recruited new faculty with formidable reputations and records of achievement.

Their role in increasing the numbers and amounts of grants has been critical, Berlin said. And the expectation is that they will continue to perform.

"We are still recruiting new faculty under the strategic plan," he says, "and we expect that as we reach a critical mass of faculty in various areas, we will see the development of programs and project applications to a degree that we've not seen before.

"We're not quite there yet in several different research areas, but we're making rapid strides. As the faculty expands, a critical mass is reached which will enable the collaborative application of diverse techniques and approaches that are required to solve complex biological problems," he adds. "Such collaborative ventures are also likely to be successful in the competition for grant funding."

The potential for technological spillover is another aspect of a reinvigorated research program that is beneficial not just to the Health Center or the University, but to the state.

Leonard Paplauskas, assistant vice chancellor for research at the Health Center, says the increased grantsmanship represents solid scientific accomplishments with positive implications for the state's biotech firms.

"These additional grant awards reflect the Health Center's move toward developing programs in areas that represent cutting-edge research," Paplauskas says. "They are a reflection of our implementing national research priorities in areas like cancer, neuroscience and genetics.

"As our research programs in the medical and dental schools mature, we look forward to transferring technology to the state's biotech industry," he adds. "By meshing our research discoveries with their research- and product-development and responding to their commercial needs, we are fulfilling our role as the state's research university."

Pat Keefe