University of Vermont

Irvin Briefs National Academy of Science Committee on Impact of IDeA on Vermont

Charles Irvin, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Charles Irvin, Ph.D. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

A group of academic leaders from EPSCoR/IDeA-funded institutions, including Charles Irvin, Ph.D., University of Vermont professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Medicine and director of the Vermont Lung Center, presented information about the impact of these programs upon their states, universities, and faculty to members of a specially-appointed National Academies of Sciences (NAS) Committee on September 12, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The Committee was charged with studying the effectiveness of federal EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) and IDeA (Institutional Development Award) programs.

Irvin, who has served as principal investigator of the UVM College of Medicine’s Center of Biomedical Excellence (COBRE) program in lung biology since 2000, was joined by nine other scientists and engineers from institutions across the country at the meeting. The COBRE program is one of several programs that fall under the National Institutes of Health’s IDeA umbrella.

Among the highlights shared by Irvin in his presentation is the success rate of UVM scientists securing competitive grants, the economic impact of National Institutes of Health funding on Vermont’s economy, and the increased productivity and impact of research in lung biology since the receipt of the COBRE grant in 2000.

EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation Executive Director Jim Hoehn lauded the presentations and shared that this NAS Committee has a critical role in helping determine the future of both IDeA and EPSCoR, and the related report significantly impacts federal research budgets.

In addition to Irvin, other presenters included Joan Hunt, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas, Patricia Hand, Ph.D., of the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Salisbury Cove, Maine, Richard Bridges, Ph.D., of the University of Montana, and UVM College of Medicine 1963 alumnus J. Donald Capra, M.D., of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. According to UVM Distinguished Professor and Perkins Professor of Biology Judith Van Houten, Ph.D., who listened to the panel and is principal investigator of the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence-funded Vermont Genetics Network, each of the speakers delivered very compelling presentations about the impacts of these grants on their states.