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West Virginia Accelerates Health Sciences Research Plan

November 22, 2004

West Virginia University’s plan to develop strong research capabilities in a number of focused areas, creating hundreds of new jobs, may be completed in half the time originally anticipated. Gov. Bob Wise announced last week a $24.4 million funding package to jump-start the implementation of new research facilities and laboratories on the WVU campus.

In addition to building new research infrastructure, funds will allow the university to attract and recruit top researchers, leading to increased federal and private sector funding, said Robert D’Alessandri, vice president of health sciences.

The plan includes a new laboratory at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, new neuroscience laboratories, and research space at the new Health Sciences Library. Originally scheduled for completion in 12 years, officials are now hoping the up-front financing will enable them to complete most of the facilities within the next 6-8 years. Specialized research will be focused in the areas of health and biosciences, including neurosciences, cancer and heart disease.

According to the governor’s office, up to 850 new research-related jobs could result from the expansion plan. Another 500 jobs are anticipated in the north central region of West Virginia, due to indirect effects on the economy.

The Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council and the Economic Development Authority both contributed $9 million to the funding package; the West Virginia Housing Development Fund contributed $6 million. According to the governor’s office, up to $3 million of the Infrastructure’s allocation will be forgiven if WVU meets its minimum job creation target of 600 new positions by the end of the decade.

An overview of WVU’s health sciences research objectives is available at: http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/resoff/grants_research/grants_research_main.asp

West Virginia