In February 2018, Chancellor Cartwright set the ambitious goal of doubling MU’s research expenditures by 2023. Currently, metrics-driven data show that Mizzou is on track, with a growing research enterprise. For example, unaudited first quarter numbers for FY2020 show that the university has logged a six percent increase in expenditures over this time last year—representing growth of $2.8 million. Additionally, our research faculty are submitting more competitive, interdisciplinary proposals attracting federal dollars that are, in turn, pumped into local, regional and statewide economies.
But, economic development highlights just one of the ways Mizzou’s research is tackling Missouri’s grand challenges.
The NextGen Precision Health Initiative is the UM System’s top capital priority. The Initiative will capitalize on the research power of all four UM System universities as well as institutional and industry partnerships. The NextGen Precision Health Institute, a $221 million state-of-the-art research facility located on Mizzou’s campus, will serve as the centerpiece of the program.
Recent statistics show that the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. is 31.3 percent—Missouri averages 32.5 percent. Groundbreaking science conducted in the NextGen Institute will attract funding and renowned researchers investigating metabolic disorders that lead to diabetes and obesity.
Missouri averages 12,537 deaths annually from cancer, and researchers in the Institute will tackle non-small cell lung cancers caused by smoking, among others. Using the strength of System researchers, we will continue to address our health challenges through personalized precision medicine, while addressing unique health factors in our state.
Most Missourians’ lives have been affected by neurological disease, whether substance abuse disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease or muscular dystrophy. Current researchers within the UM System are undertaking revolutionary science in gene therapies, that will give real treatment options to families. The NextGen Institute will help provide the resources necessary to continue this innovative research.
Through inaugural investments totaling $20 million, the UM System’s Strategic Investment Program has already gone a long way in establishing the system-wide collaborations that will be necessary to make the Institute successful. These collaborations will strengthen the science necessary to help Missourians live longer, healthier lives.
Finally, I’d like to highlight the announcement from earlier this week—the nearly $4 million National Institutes of Health grant we received to establish the Midwest Biomedical Accelerator Consortium (MBArC) that will help accelerate medical devices to the marketplace. Mizzou’s successful track record through the MU Coulter Biomedical Accelerator—led by Program Director, Jaya Ghosh, PhD—helped elevate our medical innovation pipeline. By pairing School of Medicine and College of Engineering inventors, we are able to move healthcare technologies into the hands of clinicians and citizens. We fully intend to keep embedding industry partners in our pipeline, especially within the NextGen Institute to help us nurture a robust ecosystem for moving early-stage innovations from the academic setting to the marketplace.
The NextGen Institute is right on track and I look forward to its opening in October 2021.
Vice Chancellor, Research and Economic Development, MU