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Bird Flu Funding Boost for University of Delaware

by 5m Editor
22 July 2009, at 9:45am

DELAWARE, US - A congressional delegation has announced a $1.2 million investment in University of Delaware (UD) research, including $94,000 for the programme on avian influenza preparedness.

The path to job creation is through leading-edge science, according to Delaware's Congressional delegation, which announced $1.2 million in federal funding to the University of Delaware on 20 July at a press conference at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

The funding, through the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, will support research in environmental science, avian influenza, biomedicine, and substance abuse.

Specifically, the federal dollars will provide facilities upgrades for avian influenza monitoring critical to the state's poultry industry, programs and equipment for 'critical zone' research on soil and environmental quality, infrastructure for cancer and neuroscience research, an expansion of the Delaware School Survey project to assess prescription drug use among teens, and a satellite receiving station at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes for accessing real-time data on the Delaware Bay corridor.

The funded programmes directly involve five of the University's seven colleges and have interdisciplinary implications for all seven, according to University President Patrick Harker.

"That's important to us because this kind of collaboration isn't just the way of the future; it's how the University of Delaware is doing business today," Mr Harker noted.

Senator Thomas Carper, who also is a UD alumnus, talked about the genesis nearly a decade ago of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, an interdisciplinary center for life sciences research at the University, and its rapid evolution as "one of the principal economic engines in the State of Delaware".

Nearly 12,000 new primary and secondary jobs have been created since the Delaware Biotechnology Institute opened in 2001.

"With some of the work we're doing here at the University of Delaware, we're addressing problems facing the state and the world," Carper noted.

During his remarks, Senator Ted Kaufman noted that when he came to the state in 1966, Delaware was the nation's leader in science.

"It's really important that we get back to being the science capital again," he said.

Senator Kaufman, who is the only engineer in the US Senate, praised the University for expanding its engineering curriculum and noted that there are "incredible opportunities" for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and fields like biotechnology that bring all of those disciplines together.

"Not all jobs are created equal," he said. "We want to get these high-tech jobs."

Representative Michael Castle praised Harker, noting: "The University is thriving and doing extraordinarily well under your leadership."

He said of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and the University's larger research programmes, "There's a lot of scientific interest here and we need to develop it in every way we can for the benefit of our community."

The funding supports several UD research projects including Avian Influenza Preparedness. The award of $94,000 is to upgrade Delmarva's avian flu diagnostic and biocontainment facilities and to foster the continued development of an integrated Delmarva Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory System, a nationwide model for interstate cooperation.

The University's avian influenza testing capability and research programmes in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are central to the protection of Delmarva's multibillion-dollar poultry industry. The programmes are led by Jack Gelb, director of UD's Avian Biosciences Center, and chairperson of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.