Friday, October 22, 2004

Innovative Funding

Article - Fishing for Answers: "When businessman and longtime philanthropist Ralph C. Wilson Jr.
decided to begin supporting biomedical research, he convened experts from six of the country's top medical institutions to suggest the most effective way he could help. Together, the institutions - including the University of Michigan - identified a problem in research funding: because so many scientists are competing for limited grant dollars, most grants go to 'safe' research projects, where success is almost certain. Researchers who come with creative ideas and new ways of thinking often have trouble finding support.

So Wilson established his Ralph C. Wilson Sr. and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Medical Foundation with a mission of funding innovative research by the nation's top biomedical scientists.

Though they have only been in existence since 2001, Wilson Foundation grants carry enormous weight and prestige. Only six institutions are even eligible to apply, with the U-M among this select group. What's more, only the top researchers and most creative projects at those institutions pass the rigorous peer review process. At each institution, only one to three projects receive funding annually.

One of the U-M's four researchers receiving funding is Dr. Daniel Goldman, a professor of biological chemistry and senior research professor, who is 'almost bursting' with excitement over his Wilson-funded research. Dr. Daniel Goldman works with zebrafish in his lab.Dr. Goldman explores new ways of repairing damage to the central nervous system, such as from strokes or spinal cord injuries. Fish, unlike humans, can recover from similar injuries and regenerate their nervous systems. Studying a lab full of zebrafish, Dr. Goldman hopes he is on the trail of information that could revolutionize treatments for stroke, pa"

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