NIH awards nearly $30 million for research facilities improvement projects


The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today it will award nearly $30 million for 10 Research Facilities Improvement Program (RFIP) projects across the country. The grants will allow institutions to construct new laboratory space, improve research imaging capabilities, renovate existing infrastructure systems, and create facilities for research animals.

"These investments in research facilities are vital to our nation's ability to conduct state-of-the-art biomedical and behavioral research," said Barbara M. Alving, M.D., Acting Director of NCRR. "These facilities are increasingly critical as our nation makes large investments in cutting-edge biomedical research to address AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and many other major illnesses."

The FY 2005 RFIP awards will fund the design, construction, and fixed equipment costs for new research facilities such as The Northern Plains Center for Behavioral Research at the University of North Dakota; the Center for Human Genetics and Complex Traits at the University of Pennsylvania; and the Breast and Women's Cancer Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine. The program will support new resources for research animals at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Grants will allow the Massachusetts General Hospital and Vanderbilt University to increase their research imaging capabilities. Finally, funding will enable major renovations to research laboratories at Meharry Medical College, Montana State University, and the University of Washington.

"It is crucial to our research progress that we bring our facilities into compliance with current building codes so that our investigators can conduct their research in a predictable, controllable physical environment," said Maria Lima, Ph.D., principal investigator of the project at Meharry Medical College.

A recent National Science Foundation study documents the need for infrastructure improvements at biomedical research facilities, reporting that institutions have deferred about $9 billion in repair, renovation, and construction projects due to lack of funds. More than half of the institutions that conduct biological or medical research have inadequate research space to meet their current research requirements, according to the study.

"Our renovation project will not only increase our lab space by 55 percent, its open design will encourage and facilitate innovative multidisciplinary approaches as we expand research collaborations with other departments, programs, and centers on our campus," said Paul Ramsey, M.D., principal investigator of the project at the University of Washington.

Under the RFIP, grants are provided to public and nonprofit institutions to expand, remodel, renovate, or alter existing research facilities or construct new ones. These facilities must support basic and/or clinical biomedical and behavioral research, and research training.

"The creation of the Northern Plains Center for Behavioral Research will allow us to house behavioral research and to provide training for desperately needed staff so they can give critical assistance to our community's most vulnerable populations--American Indians, rural elderly poor, Latino migrant farm workers, women and children--who suffer disproportionate rates of physical and mental disorders," said Glenda Lindseth, Ph.D., principal investigator of the project at the University of North Dakota. "Our situation is particularly urgent as the Northern Plains American Indian population is one of the most health-care deprived and fastest growing ethnic groups in this state."

RFIP funding can be used for alterations and renovations, additions to existing buildings, and completion of "shell" space, but do not support construction or land acquisition.

FY 2005 Research Facilities Improvement Program Grants:

  • Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Mass.)
    To establish 2,173 square feet of space to add neuroimaging capabilities to the Intensive Care Unit

  • Meharry Medical College (Nashville, Tenn.)
    To repair crucial research laboratory infrastructure, including upgrading fire sprinkler and alarm systems, and improving the plumbing and electrical systems

  • Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.)
    To completely renovate 11,680 square feet of the Cooley Microbiological Laboratories

  • Tulane University Health Sciences Center (Covington, La.)
    To erect a 10,534-square-foot facility to house nonhuman primates assigned to a variety of research studies

  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks (Fairbanks, Alaska)
    To complete the new 9,741-square-foot Centralized Animal Facility for animal holding, support, and veterinary services

  • University of California, Irvine (Irvine, Calif.)
    To build an 11,574-square-foot Breast and Women's Cancer Laboratory devoted to basic and translational research

  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, N.D.)
    To construct the Northern Plains Center for Behavioral Research, that will include 16,700 square feet of research space

  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    To create the Center for Human Genetics and Complex Traits, that will include 8,257 square feet of research space

  • University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)
    To renovate more than 20,000 square feet of multidisciplinary research space at the School of Medicine's Department of Biological Structure

  • Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tenn.)
    To supplement the construction of a new facility to house advanced research imaging studies of human subjects and animals

More information about the Research Improvement Facilities Improvement Program, including application guidelines, is available at

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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