July 30, 2009 By Blake Harris
In the five months since passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), thousands of research-related awards have been made, supporting important scientific efforts across the country, according to a statement from the Science Coalition released today.
A non-profit, nonpartisan organization of 50 of the leading public and private research universities in the United States, the mission of the Science Coalition is to expand and strengthen the federal government's investment in university-based scientific, medical, engineering and agricultural research. This, the organizatin says, will help to maintain America's position at the forefront of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and economic growth in the 21st century.
ARRA delivered the largest increase in basic research funding in American history - $21.5 billion. The bulk of the money is for scientific research and education projects, while $3.5 billion is allocated for research facilities and capital equipment.
Universities are helping researchers apply for ARRA funding and the federal science agencies tasked with distributing that money are reviewing tens of thousands of grant applications - all in a compressed timeframe and under new reporting requirements. As a result, says the Science Calition, in every state and the District of Columbia, ARRA-funded research grants are creating jobs, allowing the purchase of equipment, and supporting science-related construction projects.
Through the National Institutes of Health's ARRA-funded summer experience program, more than 3,000 educators and students are spending their summers in the nation's leading biomedical research laboratories. The Department of Energy's Office of Science is using ARRA funding to establish 16 Energy Frontier Research Centers on university campuses. These centers will bring together interdisciplinary teams of experts to accelerate development of new energy technologies, with each center supporting a full staff of researchers, technicians, and graduate and postdoctoral students. ARRA funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology is supporting the construction of major new academic research facilities in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Texas.
To ensure that the public is aware of the economic impact that ARRA research dollars are already having in communities across the country, the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and The Science Coalition (TSC) have put together a list of just some of the projects being funded through this initiative.
* In West Virginia, an award of $751,506 to Marshall University, in partnership with West Virginia University, aims to increase the number of students entering the biomedical research field as a career. The grant will help support 50 undergraduate students and high school science educators over the next two years as they gain experience studying disease processes such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
* In Minnesota, a grant to the University of Minnesota of $362,400 will be used to create jobs and encourage students from minority and underserved communities to pursue careers in health-related sciences. The program will provide internships in cancer research for 10 undergraduates and provide high school teacher training in cancer biology.
* In Ohio, federal stimulus money through NIH is fueling 15 research projects at The Ohio State University this summer and supporting the laboratory work of five central Ohio science teachers and 49 students - 23 in high school and 26 in college.
Recovery Act funding has allowed the National Science Foundation (NSF) to significantly expand its Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. To date, $59.1 million of the $60 million allocated for the program under ARRA have been obligated to more than 60 U.S. colleges and universities. The money supports scholarships, stipends, and academic programs for undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate students holding STEM degrees who commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts.
* In Tennessee, a $1.5 million ARRA grant to the University of Memphis will help fund a six-year program to recruit, train, and support secondary education math and science
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.