ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Two of the nation's largest private sponsors of research have taken a giant leap into plant science. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) have named 15 of the country's most innovative plant scientists as HHMI-GBMF Investigators. These 15 plant scientistsall of whom are members of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB)will share $75 million in flexible support from HHMI and GBMF over the next five years.
The two organizations formed their collaboration because of concerns that basic plant science research has been historically underfunded in the United States. HHMI President Robert Tjian explained that "we think the creation of our joint program underscores the importance of investing in fundamental plant science, and we hope it will encourage others in the United States to make analogous commitments."
Vicki L. Chandler, a former ASPB president who is GBMF chief program officer for science, said that the sponsors "believe the research will generate high-impact discoveries with implications for a range of intertwined concerns facing society: food production, human health, protection of the environment, and identification of renewable energy resources." With plant science at the center of so many contemporary national and international priorities, HHMI and GBMF felt that the time was right to make strategic investments to fuel discoveries that have a major impact.
The new HHMI-GBMF Investigators were selected on the basis of individual scientific excellence from a group of 239 applicants. HHMI is known for supporting "people, not projects," investing in visionary researchers rather than specific projects. Each HHMI-GBMF Investigator will receive an initial five-year appointment to HHMI, beginning in September 2011, and the
|Contact: Adam Fagen|
American Society of Plant Biologists