Business, Education, Politics, Sci-Tech

Gov. Hogan announces funding for research positions at 4 universities

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Friday announced that the Maryland Department of Commerce, Loyola University Maryland, the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Washington College have endowed a total of more than $10.6 million in new research professorships and positions.

The endowments were made through the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund, a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the colleges and universities. The schools raised more than $6 million in combined private funding for each position and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants of more than $4.6 million to support the endowments.

“Our strong commitment to advancing cutting-edge research and technology is just one of the reasons that Maryland consistently ranks as one of the most innovative states in the country,” said Governor Hogan. “Our higher education partners are a wonderful resource to our state’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and we’re proud to support their efforts to keep Maryland at the forefront of these rapidly changing disciplines.”

“Supporting innovation in Maryland is an essential part of keeping our state competitive, spurring business growth, and paving the way for the jobs of the future,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “Funding from the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative will help four of our leading colleges and universities continue the important research that helps move our state forward.”

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) received $2 million, matched by a $2.5 million commitment from Mr. Roger Blunt and Ms. Vivian Bowers Blunt, to establish an Endowed Chair in Construction Management and Technology Innovation. The Blunt Chair will attract an exceptional individual to join the UMES faculty who will both lead an expanded Construction Management and Technology Program and also shape a new interdisciplinary program in entrepreneurship.

“The fundamental building attributes of Construction Management make it a perfect launch pad for this new initiative that seeks to foster innovation, business creation, leadership development, and student creativity,” said UMES president Heidi M. Anderson. “We are delighted that the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative will provide a matching award to propel this work forward as we seek to create new companies and jobs as well as stimulate economic innovation on the Eastern Shore and beyond.”

Loyola University Maryland received $500,000, matched by another $500,000 raised by the university, to establish an endowed professorship in innovation that will help expand scientific research in biohealth and promote economic and entrepreneurial success in Maryland. The faculty member will work in Loyola’s biology department and be responsible for growing undergraduate biomedical research, providing students with professional skills to work in bioscience industries, creating new biotechnology research opportunities that extend undergraduate students’ exposure to scientific careers, and developing community partnerships with private and public health research organizations. The endowed professor will work with biohealth research firm, Avoneaux Medical Institute and expand collaboration with Loyola’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

“We are always seeking opportunities to strengthen the education we offer to our students in the natural and applied sciences, and this grant will make it possible for our students to engage in innovative research and study related to the growing field of biohealth,” said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola University Maryland. “This grant will put Loyola at the forefront of biohealth research and innovation across the state of Maryland—and will send a message to the broader community that Loyola is contributing to the body of research and scholarship far beyond our campus.”

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The University of Maryland, College Park received $1,156,500 to partially match a $2 million private donation for its Clark Leadership Chair in Neuroscience. Created by an investment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, the Clark Leadership Chair will be held by the director of the Brain and Behavior Institute and will work to enhance the university’s expertise in the field of neuroscience.

“We already have outstanding research and teaching programs in neuroscience, including a new undergraduate major that will launch in fall 2020,” said University of Maryland senior vice president and provost Mary Ann Rankin. “This new support from the Clark Foundation and the State of Maryland will allow us to build on our existing strengths as we recruit an outstanding leader for the Brain and Behavior Institute. This new director will help to bring together neuroscience faculty and researchers across our campus and develop closer connections in this area between the College Park campus and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.”

Washington College received $1 million, matched by $1 million from Board of Visitors and Governors member Harry Sears, to establish an endowed directorship for its 5,200-acre River and Field Campus (RAFC). RAFC is an established research center for faculty and students in disciplines ranging from biology to anthropology. It is now poised to become an innovation hub for study of a rural land management model that supports the co-existence of sustainable land conservation and profitable agriculture, as well as ground-breaking work focused on innovative agriculture, natural resource management and restoration, and agro-ecotourism.

“Our River and Field Campus is a national gem; there is nothing like it in higher education,” said John Seidel, director of the Center for Environment and Society (CES), which oversees the programming and much of the research at RAFC. “Its diverse habitats provide a living laboratory for teaching and research, while innovations in habitat restoration and agriculture provide models for others. This grant and generous matching gift will help us maximize the benefits of RAFC for our students and for the region, and will continue the College’s momentum toward becoming the leading liberal arts institution in the country for environmental programming and sustainability.”

The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided more than $42.8 million in funding to leverage more than $53 million in private donations. The funding can be used to pay salaries of newly endowed department chairs, staff, and support personnel in designated scientific and technical fields of study; fund related research fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and purchase lab equipment and other basic infrastructure and materials.

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