Delaware State University will be home to the new Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research thanks to a $10.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
$7.3 million of the money will go for research at DSU's Dover campus, the remaining $3.2 million will fund neuroscience research at the University of Delaware as part of the program that makes partners out of the state's to biggest universities.
"This research will put Delaware State on the map," said DSU president Harry Williams at a ceremony Monday morning announcing the funding. "We are partnering with our friends down the road, the University of Delaware. It's amazing what you can do when you work together." Williams says it's the largest one-time grant award DSU has ever received.
The grant from NIH stretches over the next five years and will fund five projects currently underway at DSU and UD, along with four pilot programs that are about to be launched. "This award ultimately will enable, I think, Delaware State University to join the community of scholars," said NIH's Dr. Sidney McNairy. He says DSU already has had skilled researchers, now the school will have the resources to go to the next level. "We now have an infusion of resources. We cannot, will not fail destiny."
The director of the new Delaware Center for Nerouscience research will be DSU professor Dr. Melissa Harrington. She says the idea for this cooperative effort has been around for a long time. "Back in the fall of 2007, a group of neuroscientists from Delaware State University, from UD and from the A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital started meeting to develop a statewide center to support research and education in neuroscience."
All three members of Delaware's Congressional Delegation were on hand for the announcement. Senator Tom Carper said the grant will help in a vital area of the economy. "We have millions of jobs that are going begging because we don't have people with the right skills to fill them. We don't have people with the right science, technology and math skills to fill these millions of jobs." He says this new center will help fill the void in those areas and make Delaware an attractive place for employers and students alike.
Senator Chris Coons called the funding a "crowning accomplishment" for the leadership team at DSU which has been working for years to improve the school's research capabilities. "The research that will be done here will have untold, unpredictable consequences."
Earlier this year, WHYY's First focused on the effort to build DSU's reputation as a research university. You can watch that story below.