Despite a sluggish economy and pressure to reduce federal research funding, MUSC achieved a record amount of research funding this fiscal year.
Total grant support from outside sources topped $238 million. Research awards surpassed the $200 million mark for the fourth consecutive year, with a $4.4 million dollar increase from last year. The record funding includes more than $117 million from the National Institutes of Health.
"The continued growth of the research programs in the face of general economic challenges is simply amazing and is an important contributor to our regional economy. We have an outstanding research team at MUSC," said Stephen M. Lanier, Ph.D., associate provost for research and pharmacology professor.
Biomedical research is becoming an important part of the regional economy and is one of the strategic areas for growth in the plans of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. Research funding at MUSC creates new jobs in the region as research teams move to the area and expand their programs by hiring staff.
Six new SmartState Endowed Chairs joined MUSC this past year as part of the Centers of Economic Excellence Program (http://www.sccoee.org/chairs.asp) and relocated their research programs to Charleston.
President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., praised the SmartState Endowed Chairs program for giving the state an edge in what has become a highly competitive market for scientists. "The General Assembly created this program, and it has proven to be a model for growing the knowledge-based economy of our state."
The Charleston Innovation Center, an incubator for new companies developed through a partnership with the South Carolina Research Authority, the City of Charleston and MUSC, continues to attract companies and research teams to the region and currently serves as home for eight biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
The upcoming year will witness the opening of two new research buildings focusing on drug discovery and bioengineering in the heart of the MUSC campus, both of which were supported in part by the Research University Infrastructure Act passed by the General Assembly in 2004. These buildings will be a key platform for further growth of research programs and include advanced technology resources, state-of-the-art laboratories and conference facilities.
Of particular importance, the buildings will have faculty from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina working side-by-side with MUSC scientists.
Lanier noted, "Such collaborative initiatives will give South Carolina an advantage and will lead to the development of new technologies and therapies that will benefit the broad community we serve."