An $18 million grant from the National Institutes of Health is a wonderful way to kick-start a renewed effort to make Kansas a leader in the field of life science research and business development.
The five-year grant awarded to the Kansas University Medical Center will be used to develop a statewide network of life sciences research. Although KUMC received the grant, the network will include researchers from all six Kansas Board of Regents universities as well as Haskell Indian Nations University and Washburn University. It's a wonderful plus for Lawrence that Haskell is included in this effort and will have the opportunity to develop its reputation in life sciences.
This cooperative effort fits perfectly with the vision of the Kansas Economic Growth Act, a major biosciences bill passed earlier this year by the Kansas Legislature. Kansas lawmakers hope to put $500 million into life sciences research and development over the next 10 years. The vision of the effort is to have each state university contribute research in its area of expertise, from medical research to agricultural science.
State money then would help entrepreneurs use that research to anchor a variety of businesses that will feed the state's economy in the future. The bill was one of the key accomplishments of the legislative session and garnered broad support in the Kansas House and Senate.
The NIH grant will fund increased computer capacity to help researchers share and analyze data. It also will provide vital funding for promising faculty members and students pursuing research projects.
The grant, the largest ever awarded to a university in Kansas, isn't directly linked to the Economic Growth Act, but it is the perfect complement to that effort. Congratulations to the KU researchers who attracted this grant. It is a positive sign for everyone who wants to see Kansas take a stronger role in the field of life sciences.