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Grant Competition Will Spark New Initiatives
Ivy Foundation to Support Biomedical Research at U.Va.

October 6, 2000 -- The Ivy Foundation, a new independent foundation presently endowed at $7 million to assist the University of Virginia's biomedical research efforts, will soon begin considering proposals to fund innovative studies in the biomedical sciences.

William C. Battle, a retired Charlottesville businessman and attorney who served on the University's Board of Visitors from 1976 to 1980, is chairman of the board for the foundation.

"The Ivy Foundation is dedicated to helping the University fund its top priority research projects in the biomedical sciences," says Battle. "We are looking for first-rate research that will seek answers to some of the most important problems in health and medicine."

Vice President for Research and Public Service

According to Gene Block, U.Va.'s vice president for research and public service, the University, in partnership with the Ivy Foundation, has developed a grant competition to support highly innovative research initiatives that enhance biomedical research priorities recommended by the University's 2020 Science and Technology Planning Commission.

Target areas, as recommended by the commission, include biodifferentiation -- an emerging field of biomedicine which seeks greater understanding of how cells, tissues and organs acquire form and function, and of the cell processes that lead to disease conditions such as cancer and diabetes. The ultimate goal of such research is to prevent the development of disease or to find the most highly effective treatments.

"Ivy Foundation funds will support individual researchers or multidisciplinary groups of researchers from across the University who are trying to solve important basic or applied problems in biomedicine," Block says. "Most awards will be made on a one-year basis, though multi-year support will be considered based on successful yearly progress. Proposals will be considered annually."

The Ivy Foundation's $7 million basic fund was created with funds remaining from the closure of Adirondack Biomedical Research Institute of Lake Placid, N.Y. The foundation has interests in Argonnex, a start-up biomedical research company in Charlottesville. The endowment is expected to grow considerably as Argonnex progresses with its business program.

Block's office, with the advice of a standing committee chaired by Dr. Ariel Gomez, U.Va. Genentech professor of pediatric medicine, will administer the program. The standing committee will include members from the medical, nursing, natural and physical sciences, and engineering faculties. Experts from other research communities may also be invited to participate in the review process. The committee will conduct merit reviews of proposals. Highly meritorious research projects will be forwarded by Block's office to the Ivy Foundation's board of directors who will determine which projects to fund.

The criteria for selection of the awards will include: scientific merit; relationship of the research to the University's strategic research priorities; potential for additional federal, foundation or industry funding; and potential for the creation of intellectual property.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Public Service will begin taking faculty proposals in late fall, and the first award announcements are planned for January 2001.

Contact: Fariss Samarrai, (804) 924-3778

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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