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Home > ARRA Stories > $10 Million in Stimulus Funds Spark Economy-Boosting Research at University of California San Diego
$10 Million in Stimulus Funds Spark Economy-Boosting Research at University of California San Diego

By Paul K. Mueller

June 17, 2009

More than $10 million in federal stimulus funds are giving selected research programs at UC San Diego a timely boost, and university leaders expect the investment to pay off for Californians as that research is translated into innovations, medical breakthroughs, jobs and new businesses.

Money from this year's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) now supports 10 key areas of investigation in medicine, biology, chemistry, oceanography and other fields, and additional awards are expected soon.

"We consider the stimulus funds to be much needed pump-priming, a way to advance important areas of research," said Art Ellis, UC San Diego's vice chancellor for research. "It's an investment in discoveries and innovations that benefit society – innovations that historically have led to many spin-off companies and thousands of jobs for Californians."

With UC San Diego scientists submitting proposals that request a total of nearly $600 million to date, the $10 million is just a fraction of the funding that researchers at UC San Diego have applied for, but it's early in the ARRA award schedule, and Ellis is confident that the university will continue to attract its share of the stimulus funds.

"The job-creation and job-preservation potential of a proposed project is a primary criterion of the ARRA awards," said Ellis. "The ARRA initiative is intended to put people to work and keep people at work. UC San Diego has a strong track record as an economic engine for San Diego and the state – a creator of businesses and jobs – and those factors, together with the scientific and scholarly merits of the proposals, are persuasive to funding agencies."

Based on a recent study of UC San Diego's statewide economic impact, the university estimates that approximately 200 jobs will be created or preserved as a result of the recent ARRA funding.

Research areas at UC San Diego receiving ARRA funds to date include chemistry and biochemistry; biological sciences; cellular medicine; reproductive medicine; psychiatry; and neurosciences.

  • One funded project will use electron cryo-microscopy and computer-based 3-D image-reconstruction techniques to study viruses and learn how best to develop anti-viral agents.
  • Another project will study post-natal pituitary stem cells to learn how they renew and differentiate themselves – key to understanding a gland that controls growth, the stress response, sexuality, reproduction, and other vital processes.
  • Another team of scientists will use functional magnetic-resonance imaging to study areas of the brain that may help us treat the eating disorder anorexia nervosa.

The ARRA funding is channeled through existing federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.

"We are grateful for the stimulus funding, and eager to show taxpayers a good return on their investment," said Ellis. "As a public institution, we expect our research enterprise to leverage these new resources in many ways to benefit our citizens."

This article originally appeared on the University of California San Diego website. Reposted with permission.

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