U.S. Gov. generous to Pennsylvania medical schools

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Congressional clout, research reputations spur cash

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

By Claude R. Marx, The Associated Press

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

WASHINGTON -- Despite increased competition for federal research funds, Pennsylvania medical schools continue to be among the biggest recipients.

The caliber of its medical schools, combined with some assistance from well-placed members of Congress, have helped Pennsylvania receive a larger share of federal research funds than more populous states have.

The state's six medical schools received $947 million from the National Institutes of Health last year, more than Florida or Texas.

That was at a time when only 32 percent of grant applications to the NIH were accepted. By contrast, 35 percent of applications were funded 10 years ago and 40 percent received funds 20 years ago.

"It is a very rigorous system and sometimes good projects are not funded. It does not get easier to get money just because there may be more of it available," said Andrew Rudczynski, the University of Pennsylvania's executive director of research services.

Though the NIH's $20.3 billion annual budget is more than twice what it was in 1994, almost twice as many new organizations are seeking money.

The University of Pennsylvania Medical School received $270 million in federal funds last year, the second-largest amount in the country after Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, which received $305 million.

The University of Pennsylvania's grants include a five-year $5 million project to determine genetic tendencies for breast cancer and a $4 million grant for a project to find a cure for sleep disorders.

Federal funds account for 80 percent of the school's research funds. The national average is 75 percent, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges.

The state's other medical schools received NIH funds at these levels last year: University of Pittsburgh, $170 million; Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, $65 million; Penn State University, $37 million; Temple University in Philadelphia, $29 million; and MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, $14 million.

Full report here: http://www.post-gazette.com/healthscience/20010807medicalfundshealthp6.asp

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