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Going green: New program provides vital support for plant scientists
Date:9/29/2010

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) today announced a new research program that will provide critical support to some of the nation's most innovative plant scientists. The institutions, which are collaborating for the first time, say they will invest a combined total of $75 million in the program over the next five years.

HHMI and GBMF will select as many as 15 HHMI-GBMF Investigators working in a range of scientific disciplines relevant to plant sciences research. The national competition, which begins on September 30, 2010, is open to researchers who have run their own lab for at least four years. The scientists will receive an initial five-year appointment to HHMI and receive the support necessary to move their research in creative, new directions. Those selected may be renewed for additional five-year terms, each contingent on a successful scientific review.

Despite the central role plants play in maintaining human health and in healthcare, basic research in the plant sciences has been historically underfunded. The bulk of the United States Department of Agriculture funding has not gone to competitive basic research and the Biology Directorate program at the National Science Foundation is relatively small, and has had limited dedicated programs in fundamental plant biology. Furthermore, researchers working in the plant sciences receive a relatively small percentage of funding from the National Institutes of Health.

"There is no question that plant scientists have a tremendous potential to help address and possibly alleviate some of society's most pressing concerns, such as food production, human health, protection of the environment, and renewable energy," said HHMI President Robert Tjian. "We are very fortunate to have found in the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, an institution that believes, as we do, that we must act now to do more to nurture and support the bold i
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Contact: Jim Keeley
keeleyj@hhmi.org
301-215-8858
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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