ScienceScope

Science  03 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5458, pp. 1569
  1. Second Helping

    Thrilled by the response to a 1997 program to refit university laboratories, the Canadian government surprised academe on Monday by announcing that it would pump an additional $615 million into the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for ongoing rejuvenation of academic research infrastructure.

    The money is part of the government's 2000-01 budget, which starts on 1 April. With the CFI awash in applications and its existing $680 million endowment scheduled to run dry next year, a cash injection is needed to maintain “one of the cornerstones of our plan to support the new economy,” says Finance Minister Paul Martin. Martin also announced that Ottawa will spend $109 million to establish five centers for genome mapping and proteomics. The new investments, combined with existing plans to spend $245 million over 3 years to create 2000 new research chairs (Science, 22 October 1999, p. 651), represent a “significant” reaffirmation of the value of academic research, says Robert Giroux, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

  2. Brain Trust

    In one of the largest gifts ever to a U.S. university, a high-tech couple is giving $350 million over the next 20 years to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a brain research center. The new McGovern Institute for Brain Research, based at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be directed by MIT molecular biologist Phillip Sharp.

    The McGoverns (right, with MIT president Charles Vest) have deep connections to MIT. Patrick McGovern studied neuroscience as an undergraduate and later founded the International Data Group, a $2.6 billion computer publishing company in Framingham, Massachusetts. Lore Harp McGovern, a computer entrepreneur, has chaired the board of MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research for the past 3 years. The McGoverns said their gift will enable neuroscientists to “address the daunting complexity of the mammalian brain and to begin to understand the biological basis for human thought, language, and behavior.” Sharp, a Nobel laureate, says he plans to assemble a team of 16 investigators, including 10 with faculty appointments, in biology, computer science, and linguistics.

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