With last week’s announcement, the 2012 edition of the Rhode Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Grants are proof again that the Ocean State is home to great intellectual capital that can compete in the global marketplace.
Administered by the Rhode Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Grants, founded in 2006 to recommend grant recipients, and funded by a $20 million National Science Foundation grant to encourage collaborative research, the program has given out $6.3 million. That funding has subsequently attracted $36 million more in grants or venture capital.
One success story springs from the 2009 grant of $200,000 to a team from Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital to use a three-dimensional Petri dish devised by Brown researchers to create an artificial human ovary. The project was subsequently hailed as one of the “Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs” in 2010 by Time magazine.
This year’s $1.4 million in grants go to projects that range from studying the effects of global warming on Narragansett Bay, to testing how mechanical vibration can heal burn-victim wounds and developing new uses for a recently discovered material.
Who knows which of this year’s projects will yield the next major advance? The answer is almost irrelevant.
This program’s strength lies in bringing to light the groundbreaking research happening every day in Rhode Island, as well as developing a statewide network of innovators. And from that perspective, it is an unqualified success. •