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HHS Secretary Sebelius announces $1 billion in NIH Recovery Act awards for research construction

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced one billion dollars of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds have been awarded to construct, repair and renovate scientific research laboratories and related facilities across the country. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) administered the grants, which are expected to create or sustain jobs nationwide and to help foster scientific advances that may lead to improved human health.

A total of 146 grants to institutions in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were awarded to upgrade and construct buildings, laboratory spaces and core facilities that are crucial to biomedical and behavioral investigators.

"This unprecedented Recovery Act investment in research facility construction will not only give our world-class scientists the modern facilities they need for impact research, it will also help create and maintain jobs in varied business sectors and in all regions of our country," said Secretary Sebelius.

These awards are part of an overall $100 billion federal government investment in science, innovation and technology the Administration is making through the Recovery Act to spur domestic job creation in emerging industries and create a long-term foundation for economic growth.

"These Recovery Act dollars will provide state-of-the-art facilities for hundreds of researchers to conduct cutting-edge science with the latest technologies," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "At the same time, they will create job opportunities nationwide."

Highlighted below are four examples that provide a snapshot of how institutions coast-to-coast will use these funds to help advance studies in disease areas such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, autism, pediatric illnesses and other health disorders.

Renovation of Children's Health Research and Evaluation Facility, Indianapolis Nearly $8.5 million in grant funding will help to create a state-of-the-art facility for pediatric clinical research and to create a core facility of pediatric phenotyping laboratories and patient research resources at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Phenotyping is the use of epidemiologic, biological, molecular or computational methods to systematically select features of a disorder that might result from distinct genetic influences. The project will bring together a range of existing pediatrics laboratory programs into a single core to create collaborative, quantitative phenotyping of diseases and treatments.

The Genome Data Center Initiative, St. Louis The Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) will use a $14.3 million award to build a world-class data center to support human genome research. WUSM has been involved in genome science since the inception of the field. Its genome center recently embarked on several ambitious projects to decode the genomics of hundreds of cancer patients and their tumors. The research has the potential to transform the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The new 15,000 square-foot data center will support the computational power and storage needs that projects like these require.

The San Francisco Office of AIDS Renovation (SOAR) Project A grant of more than $9.5 million will allow three prominent United States-based HIV/AIDS prevention research units within the San Francisco Department of Public Health to increase their capacity to recruit, enroll and retain large, diverse populations of study participants efficiently and effectively, and to provide critical data on new HIV/AIDS cases to investigators worldwide. The SOAR project will provide researchers with the space and data needs required for large patient studies, improved security for records storage and space needed for training. The project also will have an impact on current and future biomedical HIV/AIDS research and training initiatives.

Cell and DNA Repository Renovation, New Brunswick, N.J. Data sharing is essential for expedited translation of research results into knowledge, products and procedures to improve human health. Central storage units such as the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR) help investigators nationwide share data and biological specimens. To address space shortages and infrastructural needs and to broaden the scope of the molecular biology services, RUCDR has been awarded $9.5 million to renovate their biology laboratory. RUCDR's services provide approximately 90 NIH-funded grantees with resources that aid research in disease areas, including autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and kidney diseases.

"These Recovery Act awards literally and figuratively are laying the groundwork to accelerate research in disorders that affect the health and productivity of so many families both children and adults," said NCRR Director Barbara Alving, M.D.

Environmental impact is a key component of the Recovery Act and was a prominent theme of the related NCRR construction application and awards process. The construction grants awarded through the Recovery Act encouraged, and in many cases required, grantees to implement several primary elements of sustainable technologies and design principles. These elements ensure energy efficiency, reduction of the environmental impact of building materials and minimized use of compounds that deplete the ozone.


Contact: Cindy McConnell
NIH/National Center for Research Resources

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