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UF receives $12.2 million to establish national network of scientists
Date:10/20/2009

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Imagine a Web site like Facebook, but instead of using it to share videos or post quizzes like "What '80s song are you?" scientists could scour a national network of researchers, only a few mouse clicks separating them from information needed for a scientific breakthrough.

That's the goal of a $12.2 million National Center for Research Resources grant awarded today to the University of Florida and collaborators at Cornell University, Indiana University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Washington University in St. Louis, the Scripps Research Institute and the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. The funding stems from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

During the next two years, researchers will implement a new type of networking system at the seven schools that eventually will link researchers across the country and world to like-minded peers and potential collaborators.

By making it easier for scientists to find each other, researchers will be able to improve their ongoing studies and forge collaborations that could lead to new discoveries, said Michael Conlon, interim director of biomedical informatics for UF and the principal investigator on the grant.

"The goal of the program is national networking of all scientists," Conlon said. "Scientists have problems finding each other. We often find that researchers have pretty good networks with students or with scientists at institutions where they received their degree or worked before. But they don't always know people even at their own institutions."

The new program will draw information about scientists from official, verifiable sources and make it available using a type of technology called the Semantic Web.

For example, information about researchers' positions will come from their employers and a listing of their published articles will come from the journals, while researchers will provide information regarding th
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Contact: April Frawley Birdwel
afrawley@ufl.edu
352-273-5817
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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