Tobacco Settlement Funds Research
For the first time, Missouri is using some of it's money to fund research in life sciences.
The general assembly decided to spend some of the tobacco millions on four centers of excellence. A statewide center will be located in Columbia, and researchers are excited about the additional funding.
The heat takes its toll on the grass at the Francis Quadrangle, but money from the Missouri Life Sciences Research Board is breathing new life into agricultural research. While many states have used money from the 1998 tobacco settlement to fund research in life sciences, Missouri has not.
"This is a good opportunity for life sciences across the state of Missouri to get an infusion of research money," said Marc Linit, Ph.D, of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
Legislation for the Life Science Research Trust Fund calls for establishing four centers of excellence. Three regional centers will be based in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield, and a statewide center will be located in Columbia. The statewide center for excellence won't have it's own building. Instead, it will meet at the MU campus.
The money distributed this year will go towards research focusing on animal and plant science.
"There is a call for proposals that address bioenergy, animal health and gateway, which is animal and plant agriculture," said Linit.
Missouri's general assembly determines the funding for the trust fund, and has only approved 13-million dollars of funding for this year.
"I know the governor originally was hoping it would be 37 million dollars, and there will be successive years, we hope of funding this," said Statewide Center of Excellence Chair Tom Payne.
Proposals seeking funding must be submitted by September 6, and the money goes out in December. Even though the money came from a tobacco settlement, a small portion of the money is set aside for research involving agricultural tobacco. In addition to hosting the statewide center, MU plans to submit a proposal to fund some research on campus.