New Source of Science Funding for the Muslim World

Amount: $500 million Recipient: Several Funder: Islamic Development Bank Date Announced: April The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)’s Transform Fund will invest to develop science, technology and innovation in the 57 nations that make up the ISDB. The fund was officially established in July 2017 with an official announcement made last month. The projects are specified to be in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. IsDB President H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar said, “We know that real financial support in the science and technology sectors is needed in order to drive inclusive and sustainable development.” All types of institutions, including governments, private companies and individual scientists, are eligible to receive funding. The project categories are: “New Ideas with Proof of Concept,” “Scaling Up of Innovative Projects,” “Commercializing of Technology” and “Capacity Building in Science, Technology and Innovation.” For Capacity Building, among the type of investments listed is research equipment and lab facilities. Also for this category, funding amounts will range from $50,000 to $100,000 per project. The new IsDB Scientific Advisory Board and Board of Trustees for the Transform Fund will provide guidance. Proposals are due July 31.  

Netherlands Announce Dedicated Science Infrastructure Funding

Amount: €138 million ($170 million = €0.81 = $1) Recipient: Several Funder: Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NOW) Data Announced: April The funding will go to support 10 major research facilities in the Netherlands. It is part of the government’s new National Roadmap for Large-Scale Scientific Infrastructure, consisting of 32 facilities that have received priority status for the next four years. Twenty-one of the 32 facilities received funding in this round. Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven stated, “Good research facilities are vital for research and work like a magnet in attracting top talent.” Among the projects funded: €17.3 million ($21.4 million) for the Netherlands X-omics Initiative, with 8 member institutes; €17.3 million ($21.4 million) for the Netherlands Electron Microscopy Infrastructure, consisting of 10 participating institutions; €11.3 million ($14.0 million) for The Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Centre, run by Wageningen University and Research Utrecht University; and €4.8 million ($5.9 million) for a biosafety 3 lab at Erasmus University to study infectious diseases.  

World Bank Funds Indian Biopharma Developments

Amount: $125 million Recipient: India Funder: World Bank Date Announced: April The $125 million loan will fund the Innovate in India project to assist the Government of India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Program (BIRAC). Funding goals include skill building, shared facilities for companies to clinically validate drugs, a network of clinical trial sites, and the adoption of global models for innovation and licensing. The ultimate aim is the strengthening of India’s health care and innovation environment in order to sustain progress, including public-private partnerships and affordable health care. Renu Swarup, secretary for the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, commented, This landmark collaboration between the Department of Biotechnology and World Bank will further catalyze this ecosystem to develop new vaccines, diagnostics and core R&D technologies of medical technology devices, while strengthening the existing infrastructure and building collaborative partnerships in parallel.”  

Brown University to Become Major Brain Science Center

Amount: $100 million Recipient: Brown University Funder:  Robert J. Carney and Nancy D. Carney Date Announced:  April Brown University’s newly renamed Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science will use the funding to expand its faculty, advance research, purchase new equipment and add infrastructure. Next year, the Institute will move into a larger facility with shared lab space. Areas of research that will receive further funding are brain-computer interfaces addressing spinal conditions and paralysis; computational neuroscience examining mood disorders; and the study of cell death in order to develop therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. The Institute encompasses as many as 45 labs and faculty in 19 departments. Brown University stated that the gift makes the Institute “one of the best-endowed brain institutes in the country.”  

Canada Builds New Food Science Facility

Amount: CAD 80 million ($62.0 million at CAD 1.29 = $1) Recipient: Canadian Food Inspection Agency Funder: Canadian Government Date Announced: April The investment will go towards building a new Center for Plant Health in Sidney, British Columbia. The Center will house both labs and greenhouses for diagnostics, research and quarantines. The current Center has 40 buildings. Center specialties include post-entry procedures and pathogen testing. Oak Bay News reported that the project will be completed by 2022.

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