GW receives millions in stimulus funds

The University has received about $13 million in stimulus grants this year from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and money is still coming in, University officials said this week.

About $10 million in grants have gone to the GW Medical Center and were distributed to faculty for research on AIDS, and $2 million went to the main campus for physics, chemistry and biological sciences, said Anne Hirshfield, associate vice president for health research.

“I think the enthusiasm that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has generated for people to think of new ways that they would like to study the questions that they have been asking has been really positive for the campus,” Hirshfield said, referring to the measure that funds the grants. “People have made connections with each other and thought of exciting new projects that they’d like to do.”

A total of 52 proposals are still pending, and the University has received word that 33 have been rejected and will not be funded. Hirshfield said competition for the NIH grants is steep, with only one percent of the submitted applications being funded. Many of the proposals that were not funded were for different types of research, Hirshfield said.

Leo Chalupa, vice president for research, said there are a few major projects that are still pending, including a $25 million request for Ross Hall renovations and a $14 million proposal for a car crash research building at GW’s campus in Virginia. Those decisions will not be made until the spring, Chalupa said.

“We have some major proposals outstanding that we’d be happy with. The applications are really important and would provide research space,” Chalupa said. “But overall so far, I think we’ve done very well, so I’m pleased.”

Hirshfield said the money is coming through a few different mechanisms for attaining stimulus funds. The NIH is accepting applications for specific stimulus funds, while the NSF has been revisiting projects that were put on hold for lack of funds. Hirschfield said the University was also approached by some agencies with additional funds for active awards.

“The $13 million encompasses all of those different mechanisms,” Hirshfield said, but specified that the “vast majority” of the funds are coming in from the NIH.

Chalupa said money started coming in about two months ago, and that grants are still coming in “every week.” He said it will be impossible to know when the process will be completed because there are dozens of different committees working on different timelines for the grants.

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