Coulter funds research
Foundation, University endow $20 million for human health technology
The University and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation have partnered to create a $20 million endowment which will fund the University of Virginia Coulter Translational Research Partnership in biomedical engineering. This aims to foster research collaboration between biomedical engineers and clinicians with the ultimate goal of bringing new technology for human health to the marketplace.
The funds will go toward translational research, which works to apply discoveries from University laboratories to the creation of products or services, often by working in partnership with corporations or creating small companies.
In 2005 the Foundation chose the University as one of nine to receive $5 million grants during a five-year period, said Thomas Skalak, Coulter program leader and vice president for research at the University. The money is meant to accelerate the movement of University biomedical engineering projects into commercial products and clinical practices.
"Because of its demonstrated success, U.Va. was selected for the new endowment to continue the program in perpetuity, along with Stanford, Duke, Michigan, and Drexel," Skalak said in a statement, adding that the Coulter Foundation also endows Georgia Tech for translational research.
In addition to Skalak, University team leaders include David Chen, the University's Coulter program director, Michael Lawrence, the interim chair of Biomedical Engineering and Sharon Krueger, the University innovation partnership coordinator. The advisory board for the partnership is comprised of faculty scientists and clinicians, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Chen said the endowment also allows for student involvement.
"It is very inspiring to see undergraduate students working side-by-side with world class researchers to tackle the toughest issues in health," Chen said in the statement.
Since 2006, the Coulter Foundation has funded more than 30 projects at the University, Skalak said. These projects have focused in multiple areas and produced five startup companies, 19 licensing and option agreements, more than $12 million in venture capital and private investments, and more than $20 million in federal, state or foundation grants. Skalak said these biomedical innovations create benefits both for patients and the regional economy.
Mark Crowell, University executive director of innovation partnerships and commercialization, agreed with the financial benefits of the initiative.
"The Coulter program at U.Va. is a great demonstration of how universities can be transformative for the economic prosperity of the nation, " Crowell said in a press release.
The University of Virginia Coulter Translational Research Partnership in biomedical engineering is being funded by $10 million from the Coulter Foundation and $10 million from other University endowments. The University is now actively seeking an additional $10 million from other foundation, corporate and individual partners to be able to provide permanent annual funding at or above the level of 10 to 12 projects per year at $100,000 to $150,000 each.