Research grants fall by nearly 20 percent in 2009

Federal research grants awarded to the University fell more than 18 percent in 2009 after a research grant funding a diabetes research center was moved elsewhere, the University’s chief research officer said last week.

Federal grants declined from $110 million in 2008 to $90 million in 2009, which Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa attributed to the end of GW’s tenure as a research coordinating center for the type 1 diabetes study.

“This accounts for our entire decrease,” Chalupa said.

For seven years, the University’s Biostatistics Center served as a coordinating center for TrialNet, a study focused on type 1 diabetes.

Following a competitive application process, GW was named the coordinating center for TrialNet in the spring of 2001 and remained the coordinating center for seven years, employing a staff of 65 at its peak, John Lachin, a professor of biostatistics and co-director of the Biostatistics Center, said.

“In the summer of 2008, we were informed that we were not selected to continue as the coordinating center,” Lachin said. The new TrialNet coordinating center is at the University of South Florida.

Lachin said he is still working on diabetes research projects, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program, and remains hopeful that other projects will come.

“I’m optimistic in the coming years that there will be other projects that will come around,” he said.

Chalupa said the University remains committed to its goal of substantially increasing research expenditures in the coming years. The University hopes to reach $139 million in total research expenditures in 2014, up from $99 million in 2009.

On top of last year’s drop in research funds, Chalupa said the federal government’s budget freeze could further reduce the amount of research funds the University receives in the future.

“We should be going up at a higher rate than we are because the faculty is getting better, we’re hiring more people,” Chalupa said.

Despite setting “challenging goals” for the University, Chalupa said he remains optimistic.

“I believe that we will be able to accomplish them, and hopefully even exceed them!” he said in an e-mail.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.