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UB Says Collaboration is Best Bet for Stimulus Funds

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-830112.mp3

Buffalo, NY – An expected infusion of federal stimulus money has the region's top research facilities vying for infrastructure and research funding. But SUNY Buffalo officials say there should be enough to spread around.

Roswell Park is a nationally recognized cancer center. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has been concentrating its efforts and growing. The Erie County Medical Center is trying to create a niche. And UB's Center for Bioinformatics is central to its ambitious UB 20-20 plans.

All these institutions are hoping for and going after millions of dollars from the federal stimulus package. Marsha Henderson is Vice President for External Affairs at UB. She said it is more important that they collaborate than compete.

"It's important that all the partners in the community, particularly the healthcare community, are working collaboratively so we can tee-up the priorities of the community," said Henderson. "Roswell may have a priority today, it may be UB tomorrow, or Kaleida or some other organization...because a lot of these initiatives are building blocks to where we really want to go."

And putting all those building blocks together could better position all the institutions to get some of the funding.

Mike Pietkiewicz is Assistant Vice President for Government Relations at UB. He said most of the funding is competitive. But he said, with the existing partnerships, UB usually benefits no matter who gets the awards.

And he said the federal stimulus package is pouring more money into a variety of funding pools - from state to federal agencies. Pietkiewicz said those pools need to be drained pretty quickly. The stimulus law called for that money to be dispensed within 90 days. UB already has research grant applications in the pipeline. So, Pietkiewicz said that means UB is already in line for a number of different grants.

"It means they're going to be going further down the queue," said Pietkiewicz. "So, even if we're not the top project it means there's a good chance they're going to be getting to the second, the third and the fourth - and we are very competitive in that group."

Still, others might see it less collaboratively. Roswell Park's president recently said the institute will compete aggressively for National Institutes of Health funding available through the Federal stimulus package.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.