Requests taken this month for life sciences fund

In 2008, the Life Sciences Discovery Fund Authority will begin awarding $35 million annually to fund health-related research and economic development in Washington. This month, research proposals are being solicited for $3 million to help kick off the process.

Ken Spitzer, WSU associate vice provost for research, said the intent with the initial, privately funded $3 million pool is to jump-start the life science’s initiative.

The $3 million, which could go as high as $6 million, is being donated by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Amgen, Microsoft and Regence BlueShield.

The $35 million per year is funded from Washington’s $350 million tobacco settlement bonus and is guaranteed for 10 years. Those requests for proposals are expected to go out in May. The funds will be allocated in May 2008.

At this point, Spitzer said, no one knows the exact wording for the $3 million request for proposals, but it should be available by late February. Awards are to be announced in September.

He said the definition of health-related research and economic development will be broad, including both basic and applied science, but the money is not meant to supplant funded programs provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Dennis Dyck, vice chancellor for research at WSU Spokane, said several research teams in Spokane that work closely with colleagues in Pullman are looking forward to the second phase of the grant process, when the $35 million becomes available. Sleep research and cytogenetics are among several areas in which WSU already has a national presence and could use the money to make key acquisitions — in personnel or technology — that would greatly enhance the programs.

For more information, go ONLINE @ or contact WSU’s Office of Research.

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