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Spinal Cord Injury: Progress, Promise, and Priorities
give them an edge to compete successfully for grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which are highly competitive, lucrative, and prestigious. In each model program described in this chapter, funds from state or local grants were parlayed into the receipt of NIH grants of double or triple the value of the state or local grant. State funds have also been used to fill the gaps left unfilled by NIH grants. Examples include endowed faculty chairs (see the description below of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center), lecture series, and special fellowships. Flexibility in state funding enables researchers to pursue high-risk research or to capitalize on new and unexpected research directions. In sum, state funds not only are used to establish a program but also can be used as a building block.
New Construction or Renovation
State funding has been used, directly or indirectly, for renovation and new construction. Physical infrastructure not only is important for research in its own right but also is key to attracting new talent. The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis was able to build a $36 million building with partial state funding. The project obtained $10 million from the state as a one-time line item in the state budget that matched the funds that the project had raised from a private donor. The receipt of state funds for construction helped the program secure even more private funding. In this instance, state funds for construction were separate from the state’s annual fund for research and treatment for spinal cord injuries.
States can finance construction by floating bonds. That was the preferred vehicle of financing listed in a survey reported by the National Science Foundation (see above). State-issued bonds will also be used by the state of California to finance the building of new facilities under its stem cell research initiative that was approved by voters in 2004.2
NIH rarely funds new construction through its extramural research program, although it does fund new construction for public health priorities, such as, most recently, biological defense. NIH construction grants also impose restrictions. They are normally capped at $4 million. In recent years the annual congressional appropriations for these grants, which represent funding for the Research and Facilities Improvement Program, has been approximately $110 million to $120 million (U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, 2003). A portion of NIH’s Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence3 grants ($500,000) can also be used for renovation. How-
California Codes Health and Safety. §125290.70(a)(4) (2004).
Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grants are awarded through NIH’s National Center for Research Resources, which is authorized under Sections 481A and 481B of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by Sections 303 and 304 of P.L. 106-505, to “make grants or contracts to public and nonprofit private entities to expand, remodel, renovate, or alter existing research facilities or construct new research facilities.”