Whitaker Foundation to phase out grant programs

October 16, 2001

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 16, 2001 --- The Whitaker Foundation, which has invested more than $575 million in biomedical engineering education and research, has begun phasing out its grant programs to coincide with its planned closing in 2006.

"Biomedical engineering has gone through a period of tremendous growth in recent years," said Whitaker Foundation President and CEO Peter G. Katona, Sc.D. "It has been a privilege to play a role in bringing this emerging field into the academic mainstream."

Ten years ago, student interest was rising, employment opportunities were expanding, and research advances were opening up broad new areas for commercial development and clinical application.

At that time, the foundation decided it could have a significantimpact on the field by investing all of its resources over a relatively short time. The goal was to accelerate the formation of a solid educational infrastructure at universities and a well-trained cadre of researchers and teachers.

In 1991, the foundation set a closing date of 2006 and began to create new grant programs. Annual spending rose from $14 million in 1991 to an estimated $60 million to $70 million each year from 2001 through 2005.

This increased level of spending has supported more than 1,900 individual faculty members and students, the establishment and enhancement of innovative educational programs, and the construction of buildings to house leading biomedical engineering departments.

The foundation will continue to fund existing multiyear awards, but will begin to phase out the awarding of new grants as follows:

Leadership-Development Awards

The foundation is still reviewing applications submitted during the 2000-2001 competition. It will no longer accept new applications for these large, long-term institutional awards.

Special Opportunity Awards in Biomedical Engineering

One more competition will be held for these three-year institutional awards to develop and enhance educational programs. The deadline for preliminary applications is March 15, 2002.

Biomedical Engineering Research Grants

Four more competitions will be held for these grants, which support biomedical engineers early in their academic careers. The final deadline for preliminary applications will be December 1, 2002.

Graduate Fellowships in Biomedical Engineering

Two more annual competitions are planned for these awards, which are designed to help graduate students prepare for research careers in biomedical engineering. Application deadlines will be in December 2001 and December 2002. The maximum duration for new fellowships will decrease from the current five years to four years in 2002 and three years in 2003.

Industrial Internships

Two more annual competitions will be held for internships to give biomedical engineering students industrial experience. The application deadlines will be in December 2001 and December 2002.

Teaching Materials

Five more competitions will be held for grants to write textbooks and develop interactive instructional materials. The final deadline for preliminary applications will be in May 2003.

Whitaker Foundation

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