Missouri General Assembly Approves Funds for Life Science Research, STEM

May 14, 2008

The General Assembly approved the fiscal year 2009 budget last week, providing $21 million for the Life Sciences Research Trust Fund. Established in 2003, the fund was created to support life science research, commercialization, and technology transfer using a portion of the state’s tobacco settlement funds. The FY09 appropriation will be administered by the Life Sciences Research Board, which is responsible for awarding grants and contracts for research.
Last year, the General Assembly approved a one-time appropriation of $13.4 million for the fund dedicated to research focusing on animal and health nutrition, renewable energy and plant sciences (see the May 21, 2007 issue of the Digest).
The FY09 budget includes $1 million for eMINTS – a statewide instructional model for teachers – in support of the Missouri Mathematics, Engineering, Technology and Science (METS) Initiative. The goal of the METS program is to support schools in creating school-wide reform for improved instruction and student achievement in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Gov. Matt Blunt recommended $5 million for technologically advanced classrooms with advanced math and science curriculum during his State of the State Address earlier this year (see the Jan. 16, 2008 issue of the Digest).
Lawmakers approved $250,000 – $500,000 less than the governor’s recommendation – to train new Advanced Placement teachers and provide funding assistance for students who earn college credits during high school and for fees associated with mathematics and science exams for college placement.
The corresponding budget bills await the action of Gov. Blunt and include HB 2002, HB 2003 and HB 2007.