Georgetown’s request for science center stimulus funding gets positive signals

IMG_0233The current science center

The federal government has not yet denied or approved Georgetown University’s $15 million request for stimulus money to fund construction of the science center, but Ali Whitmer, a dean in the College, said that the outlook is good.

Having submitted the request to the National Institute of Standards and Technology in early August, the University was contacted by NIST earlier this month with a list of clarification questions about their original proposal.

“While there was not any particular indication that we would be getting funding, that’s generally a good sign that we’ve made something of a shortlist,” she said.

Whitmer said that NIST would make its decision sometime in December. She did not have information on requests Georgetown had made of other institutions for construction funding.

Earlier this month, University Spokesperson Julie Green Bataille said that Georgetown was ready to begin construction on the science building as soon as it had secured enough funding.

“We are doing everything we can outside of putting shovels in the ground … to make sure that when we can secure financing, we’re ready to go,” she said.

Scott Fleming, the Associate Vice President for Federal Relations, said that in order for Georgetown to receive funding for construction of the science center, NIST must also approve the “science element” of the University’s proposal, which NIST required it to submit. The proposed institute, called the Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology, would mostly support research in physics and chemistry.

The total amount of stimulus funding Georgetown has received, and what for, after the jump!

Fleming said that the University has received about $25 million in federal stimulus funds to date. That includes $772,697.94 in federal work study for students, funding for about 50 research projects at the Medical Center, and funds from National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation supporting projects on Main Campus.

Some of the specific projects that have been awarded funding include the “Washington Metropolitan Women’s Interagency HIV Study” and “Development of Antiviral Therapeutics for Dengue.”

In an e-mail, Fleming wrote that the University still has 232 proposals for stimulus funding still pending that total $167,196,741.47. When the Voice last reported on Georgetown’s stimulus funding in late August, the University had received about $5.5 million in federal stimulus. According to, a website that tracks stimulus money, a large number of the projects Georgetown has received funding for so far have to do with disease research.

One project on in particular caught Vox‘s eye: $1,958,552 awarded on September 29 by the Department of Health and Human Services for “A Novel Monkey Model for Parkinson’s Drug Discovery.” Fleming and Whitmer did not have any information on this project.

Update 5:04 p.m.: Vox has just received information on the “Novel Monkey Model” project from Rachel Pugh, the acting director of communications for the GU Medical Center in an e-mail.

“This project provides funding from the National Institutes of Health for [Executive Vice President for Health Sciences] Dr. Howard Federoff to further develop and evaluate possible drug treatments for Parkinson’s disease by creating a new disease model ….  Dr. Federoff’s project extends his previous observations to non-human primate models by overexpressing various forms of the most commonly mutated Parkinson’s disease gene.”

Photo by Juliana Brint

One Comment on “Georgetown’s request for science center stimulus funding gets positive signals

  1. Pingback: Vox Populi » Georgetown receives $6.9 million for Science Center, which will resume construction

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