State money to be boon for biomedical research at U, regents are told

  • Article by: JEFF SHELMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 9, 2008 - 10:46 PM

An infusion of state funding for biomedical research will create work space for more than 100 primary researchers and 500 support staff in four new or expanded buildings, according to plans the University of Minnesota regents discussed Wednesday.

Dr. Frank Cerra, senior vice president of health sciences, said that the $300 million Minnesota Biomedical Research Program, including $220 million approved by the Legislature this year, will attract more than $100 million in new research funding annually.

Beginning with an expansion of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, the project is expected to include buildings focusing on cancer, cardiovascular health and infectious diseases.

When completed in 2013, the four buildings will feature 400,000 square feet for research. "It will greatly increase our ability to recruit and retain faculty," Cerra said.

He said the improved facilities allowed the university to retain Kamil Ugerbil, head of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research.

The state money, however, is only part of the equation. The university not only has to come up with 25 percent of the funding for the buildings, but it also has to find a way to finance the recruitment and salaries of the faculty members and researchers employed there.

Cerra said $65 million that the university recently received from the Masons for cancer research is the first of several philanthropic gifts in the works. In addition, Cerra said, money from the partnership between the university's hospital and Fairview Hospitals will be used. Other sources will include partnerships with industry, the re-allocation of funds within the Academic Health Center and additional state support.

Jeff Shelman • 612-673-7478

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