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UMass President Awards $1 Million to Innovative Faculty Research and Scholarship

Supports 15 Science, Technology and Creative Economy Initiatives That Foster Economic Growth 

University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson today announced a total of $1 million in awards to faculty investigators from the President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund and the President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund for the 2009-2010 academic year.

This year, 15 individual projects from across all five UMass campuses will receive grants ranging from $15,000 to $170,000 for initiatives in the sciences and engineering and the arts, humanities and social sciences. The wide range of projects includes biofuels research, green computing, a personalized cancer therapy partnership with the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center, a youth and Shakespeare initiative, a multi-campus effort to develop green jobs and career paths and a study of place attachment and entrepreneurship.

The Science and Technology and Creative Economy awards programs were established by President Wilson in 2004 and 2007 respectively, as part of the University's efforts to support faculty research and promote economic development in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

"The University's support for faculty scholarship is central to its academic mission-these grants are among the tools we use to retain world-class faculty, enrich our students' learning experiences, and apply the University's intellectual resources to solve global, national and local problems," said University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson. "The University of Massachusetts is an innovation engine-conducting over $435 million in sponsored research and earning over $37 million from technology commercialization annually and making discoveries that create jobs, spin-off new companies and fuel the Commonwealth's economic and social development."

President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund

The following projects and faculty principal investigators were selected for 2009-2010 President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund support:

  • Title: Massachusetts Green Computing Initiative: Sustainable IT for a Knowledge Economy
    Principal Investigators: Rick Adrion and Prashant Shenoy, UMass Amherst
  • Title: Effects of Climate on the New England Environment
    Principal Investigators: Ray Bradley and Rick Palmer, UMass Amherst

  • Title: The Institute for Massachusetts Biofuels Research (TIMBR)
    Principal Investigators: Danny Schnell, Susan Leschine and Michael Henson, UMass Amherst

  • Title: Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy
    Principal Investigator: Andrew Grosovsky, UMass Boston with partners at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
  • Title: Interdisciplinary Center in Drug Resistance
    Principal Investigator: Celia Schiffer, UMass Worcester with partners at UMass Amherst

The President's Science and Technology Initiatives Fund provides seed funding for faculty research projects that contribute to the growth of the Commonwealth's economy, especially in technology- and innovation-driven industries. 

This is the sixth year for the awards; a total of 43 projects have been funded since 2004, including five this year. Since 2004, President Wilson has directed over $5 million in funding to faculty projects. Fund-supported projects have leveraged more than $100 million in external resources for UMass, set the stage for several important new initiatives, helped campuses secure new industry and institutional partners and further strengthened the University's role in supporting the economic development of the state.

President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund

The President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund provides seed funding for faculty initiatives which promote the contributions of the arts, humanities and social sciences to the social and cultural strength of the Commonwealth.

This is the third year for the Creative Economy awards; this year 10 individual projects were funded, including a three-campus proposal. 

The following projects and faculty principal investigators were selected for 2009-2010 President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund support:   

  • Title: "Youth and Shakespeare:  Reconstructing the Connection." Principal Investigator: Arthur Kinney, Director, Renaissance Center, UMass Amherst
  • Title: "Place Attachment and Entrepreneurship in the Massachusetts Economy."   
    Principal Investigator: Henry Renski, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, UMass Amherst 

  • Title: "Electronic Gaming in Massachusetts:  Baseline Study and Industry Analysis."   
    Principal Investigators: Pacey Foster, Management, and David Terkla, Economics, UMass Boston 

  • Title: "Developing Green Jobs and Career Paths."  (This is a three-campus proposal, with each campus receiving funding.)
    Principal Investigators: Joan Becker, Academic Support Services, and others, UMass Boston; Robert Peck, Dean of Engineering, and others, UMass Dartmouth; David Turcotte, Center for Family, Work and Community, and others, UMass Lowell 
  • Title: "The Massachusetts Midwifery Workforce Profile Project"
    Principal Investigator: Christa Kelleher, Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, UMass Boston

  • Title: "Weaving the Rainbow:  Pathways to the Sciences." 
    Principal Investigator: Grant O'Reilly, Physics Dept., UMass Dartmouth 
  • Title: "Readings with Paintings on Movable Walls." 
    Principal Investigator: Robert Forrant, Dept. of Regional Economic and Social Development, UMass Lowell

  • Title: "Lowell Youth Orchestra and New Concert Series." 
    Principal Investigator:  Kay George Roberts, Department of Music, UMass Lowell

This year, more than 60 proposals were submitted by UMass faculty for consideration for both Funds. University licensing income is the source of funding for the awards.

For background information on the projects selected for funding, go to

Robert P. Connolly, 774-455-7188
Libby DeVecchi, 774-455-7189


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