Monday, November 2, 2009

NIH Awards $27 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Enhance Scientist and Resource Networking

University of Florida and Harvard to lead new Web-based initiatives to help facilitate biomedical research nationwide.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced awards that will harness the power of social networking to help scientists and students throughout the country accelerate biomedical research. The same principles and technology that enable teenagers to instantly share updates and pictures with their friends also can help researchers connect, collaborate and share resources better and faster on scientific advances. All software developed in this project will be freely available to biomedical institutions in the non-profit sector.

The awards to the University of Florida and Harvard University Medical School were made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). The funding is administered by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), part of the NIH.

This initiative will bring the power of Internet-based tools, as exemplified by social networking, to biomedical research. These modern technologies for communication and collaboration have the potential to enhance interdisciplinary research enabling individuals to connect with each other and with resources irrespective of location to address challenges in new ways.

The Harvard award will create a home where experts can share resources, while the Florida award will create a social network that will enable connections among the scientific community and create pathways that lead to others they know.

Diverse institutions from rural to urban areas — including those that are racially and ethnically diverse, and/or technologically challenged or advanced — are engaged to ensure broad applicability and national impact.

The Recovery Act awards will enable the creation of 45 to 60 new jobs in information technology, research and other fields in order to develop, implement and evaluate the projects within a required two-year timeline.

The projects will span the nation, including Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Montana, Indiana, New Hampshire, rural New York, Georgia and Mississippi, to Puerto Rico, Massachusetts and Florida. Full project descriptions provided by each lead institution, as well as a list of project partner institutions, are available

"National networking provides opportunities for scientists to collaborate in new, exciting ways to improve abilities to uncover underlying pathways and mechanisms of biology and to develop new diagnostics, treatments and prevention strategies," said NCRR Director Barbara Alving, M.D. "The infrastructure created and implemented through these awards has the potential to greatly facilitate the pace of biomedical research nationwide."

The grants, totaling $27 million, are part of the $5 billion in NIH Recovery Act funding that President Obama announced Sept. 30, on the NIH campus. Signed into law by the President on Feb. 17, 2009, the Recovery Act provides funds intended in part to stimulate the economy. Consistent with this legislative purpose, NIH is pleased to use Recovery Act-supported funding opportunities to help create or retain American jobs while advancing research.

More information about the Recovery Act/NIH/NCRR grants can be found at All Recovery Act/NIH grants can be found at

The National Center for Research Resources, a part of NIH, provides laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the resources and training they need to understand, detect, treat and prevent a wide range of diseases. NCRR supports all aspects of translational and clinical research, connecting researchers, patients and communities across the nation. For more information, visit

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

The activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). More information about the NIH Recovery Act grant funding opportunities can be found at To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the Recovery Act, visit To track all federal funds provided through the Recovery Act, visit