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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA seeks stimulus funds

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, could provide the UA with some much-needed funding after massive budget cuts dealt a harsh blow this semester, but obtaining federal dollars is still going to take a fight.

    Andrew Comrie, associate vice president for research, is coordinating a university-wide effort to capitalize on stimulus funds.

    “”This is a huge (amount of) money that is zooming out from the Feds. And because it’s happening fast and some of it is in unexpected ways, and we needed a way to manage that and that is exactly what we’re doing,”” Comrie said.

    Recently, it was announced that new federal guidelines would require Arizona to use part of its stimulus program money to backfill recent budget cuts to universities.

    “”Most of the funding that (the university) would chase is going to be stuff they’re used to doing anyway, only there will be more money attached to it,”” said Comrie.

    Even so, seeking stimulus funding demands teamwork from various campus departments.

    “”The whole notion here is to coordinate it as best we can,”” said Comrie. “”Making sure all the pieces connect was a very important thing here.””

    Comrie said that a Stimulus Working Group has been created which teams the Office of the Vice President for Research with the Office of Federal Relations, the Office of State Relations, the Provost’s Office, Business Affairs, Facilities Design and Construction, staff from Phoenix biomedical campus, and others.

    “”Basically a pretty good team from across campus who have relationships either to the sources of money or prioritizing where some of this interaction might occur,”” he said.

    The Stimulus Working Group has had a couple of meetings and has a Web site to post useful information and updates, he said.

    “”The first job is to be sure that our faculty and researchers are aware of what these opportunities are,”” Comrie said.

    There are three areas, nicknamed “”buckets,”” from which stimulus funding might come to the UA.

    The first bucket includes “”normal research applications””, Comrie said. The second bucket involves “”special programs that might require university coordination to the extent we need special space or the university needs to show some sort of matching funds or it needs to be a partnership,”” Comrie said.

    The third bucket deals with “”facilitation, coordination, and facility related projects,”” Comrie said, such as the “”renovation of old labs for research.””

    There is also “”a big chunk”” of money going to the governor, Comrie said. “”Some of it might get spent within the university system. Probably less on research and more on the buildings and facilities end,”” he said.

    As far as how much funding the UA will receive from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Comrie said it is impossible to say.

    “”We’d like to think we’ll get as much as possible. As a university, our research funding, we’re incredibly competitive at the national level. We hope that that prowess will continue,”” Comrie said. “”You don’t get it without trying, so we’re putting our very best foot forward … as we always do.””

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