Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ScienceWorksForUS to promote stimulus-funded research activities

U-M and other leading public and private research universities on Tuesday launched ScienceWorksForUS, an initiative to highlight the scientific research and related activities made possible by federal stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

On the Web
• ScienceWorksforUs Web site
• PDF list of of more than 50 ARRA-funded research projects from around the country
• More about stimulus research spending at U-M

The centerpiece of the initiative is a Web site that highlights Recovery Act-sponsored research in all 50 states, telling the stories of the research and the researchers contributing to America’s recovery. University leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress made the announcement in Washington, D.C.

Highlighted Michigan projects include a $744,000, two-year National Institutes of Health grant to U-M’s Sean Morrison, director of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology. Morrison will examine the potential of using human embryonic stem cells to treat Hirschsprung disease, a birth defect in which the nervous system that regulates intestinal function does not develop properly. Hirschsprung disease affects one in 5,000 newborns.

Morrison said the NIH stimulus funding is expected to create two laboratory positions: one for a research associate and one for either a student or a postdoctoral fellow. As of Oct. 31, U-M had received 342 ARRA awards, totaling $206.4 million.

“ScienceWorksForUS is highlighting the way Recovery Act funds have made their way into academic laboratories, and reflects what’s possible when smart investments in the public sector are placed in the hands of our scientists, innovators and academies of higher learning,” Pelosi says. “Through our ongoing support for researchers across the country, we will ensure that the Recovery Act was not the end of our investment in innovation, but the beginning of a sustained commitment to science.”

The stimulus contained $21.5 billion for scientific research, the purchase of capital equipment and science-related construction projects. This money, less than 3 percent of the $787 billion stimulus measure, represented an historic infusion of funding for research and an affirmation of the essential role scientific inquiry and discovery play in both short-term recovery and long-term economic growth.

The purpose of ScienceWorksForUS is to ensure that the public is aware of the important work being made possible by the funding for scientific research that was included in the ARRA. This work holds broad implications for local communities and society at large.

— This story was submitted ScienceWorksForUS, an initiative of the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and The Science Coalition, with additions by Jim Erickson of U-M News Service.