Friday, November 30, 2012

My third anniversary as a writer for

As I mentioned in Social media stories: Tweeting the news, finding auto defects, and scientific outreach, I'm marking my third anniversary writing for this week.  In fact, I'm marking it today, as I published my first article for on November 30, 2009.  Today marks my third anniversary as a writer for  To celebrate the occasion, here's my inaugural article as Detroit Science News Examiner, along with the video from MSU that originally accompanied the article.*

Ian Gray, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, helps lead a powerful research mission at Michigan State University. From curing diseases to improving the environment to promoting sustainability, the reach MSU researchers is far and wide. Gray explains how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help MSU create jobs and stimulate the economy while addressing some of the worlds most pressing problems.
Stimulus awards nearly $274 million so far to scientists in Michigan
In his Inaugural Address, President Barack Obama promised to "restore science to its rightful place."  One of the ways President Obama and the 111th Congress have followed through with that promise has been the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), known as the Recovery Act or simply the stimulus package.  As part of the $787 billion stimulus measure, Congress allocated $21.5 billion for scientific research, the purchase of capital equipment, and science-related construction projects.  Although this amount constitutes less than 3 percent of the stimulus, it represents the largest investment in research activities since Sputnik and provided $5 billion more in funds during 2009 and 2010 to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) alone, according to Bill Andresen, the president of the Science Coalition and vice president for federal affairs for the University of Pennsylvania, as quoted in The Hill.

Stimulus grants for scientific research in Michigan

Thus far, 494 grants totaling nearly $274 million have been awarded to scientists at Michigan research universities, according to ScienceWorksForUS, a website unveiled on November 17th by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, other members of Congress, and representatives of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A.P.L.U.), and The Science Coalition (TSC).

The University of Michigan has garnered the lion's share of both the grants and funds awarded to date with 342 awards totaling $206.4 million.  Michigan State University has received $32.2 million so far among 74 grants.  Wayne State University has been awarded 63 grants that sum to at least $25 million.  Michigan Technological University captured 17 grants for a total of more than $6.7 million.

University of Michigan

At the University of Michigan, the majority of the grants (266) has come from the NIH and gone to research into stem cells, cancer treatment and prevention, the impact of endocrine disruptor chemicals on fetal development, kidney disease genetics, stress as a factor in childhood obesity, and dozens of other areas on the frontiers of medical research.  Both the University of Michigan School of Medicine and the Life Sciences Institute are participating in these research programs.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) has provided 71 grants, which are supporting research in areas as diverse as astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, geology, mathematics, meteorology, and physics.  The Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for two grants, one establishing an Energy Research Frontier Center and another creating new courses in battery technology, hybrid electronics, and green power.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University's awards have been more or less evenly split between those from the NSF (33 grants) and NIH (27 grants).  The NSF grants contribute to MSU's strengths in agriculture, biology, chemistry, mathematics, teacher education, and psychology, as well as interdisciplinary research in sustainability and other environmental topics.  Studies on drug development, hearing, and cerebral palsy are among those supported by NIH funds.  In addition, DOE funding is supporting research into hybrid engines and solar energy.

Medical research forms the backbone of scientific inquiry at Wayne State University, so it should come as no surprise that grants from NIH compose the bulk of the stimulus research funds, with 57 of the institution's 63 awards coming from the NIH.  The NIH moneys are funding a variety of projects ranging from the genetics of lung disease to improving patient care among African-Americans.  Programs in computing, chemistry, and physics have received the NSF funds.  finally, WSU has a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy for an electric vehicle engineering education and workforce training program.

Michigan Technological University

Of Michigan Tech's 17 awards, 13 are from the NSF and 4 from the NIH.  The overwhelming majority of both categories of grants fund engineering projects, including medical engineering.  Other projects are supporting research into the environment, physics, and psychology.

Other institutions and companies

In addition to the four research universities mentioned above, Michigan organizations receiving stimulus research and teaching grants include the following:

Funded by the NIH

  • Henry Ford Health System (10 grants for $3,516,275)
  • Oakland University (11 grants for $1,596,715)
  • Van Andel Research Institute (3 grants for $955,469)
  • Pixel Velocity, Inc. (1 grant for $489,570)
  • Calvin College (3 grants for $286,370)
  • Compendia Bioscience, Inc. (1 grant for $263,987)
  • Eastern Michigan University (1 grant for $229,238)
  • Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (1 grant for $199,900)
  • Sonetics Ultrasound, Inc. (1 grant for $144,873)
  • Tissue Regeneration Systems, Inc. (1 grant for $121,338)
  • Kalamazoo College (1 grant for $123,943)
  • Innovative Biotherapies, Inc. (2 grants for $84,905)
  • Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (1 grant for $80,000)
  • Central Michigan University (1 grant for $57,894)
  • Northern Michigan University (1 grant for $21,069)
  • Hope College (1 grant for $19,325)
  • Originus, Inc. (1 grant for $12,400)

Funded by the NSF

  • Oakland University (4 grants for $1,624,489)
  • Hope College (4 grants for $1,408,071)
  • Central Michigan University (4 grants for $1,031,446)
  • Grand Valley State University (2 grants for $702,600)
  • Industrial Optical Measurement Systems (1 grant for $500,000)
  • Western Michigan University (4 grants for $414,466)
  • Eastern Michigan University (1 grant for $322,923)
  • Alma College (1 grant for $150,000)
  • The Mackinac Technology Center (1 grant for $149,991)
  • Baker-Calling (1 grant for $149,265)
  • GoKnow Inc. (1 grant for $99,970)
  • Picocal, Inc. (1 grant for $99,776)
  • Santoro Wind Harvester, Inc. (1 grant for $94,479)

I plan on writing more about my experiences with as part of next month's NaBloPoMo theme, Work.

*It's not there now; in fact, most of my slideshows and videos from my first year on can no longer be seen at the articles they were intended to illustrate, although I can find the slideshows elsewhere on the site.  I'm not sure why that happened, although I have my suspicions.

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