University invests large sum in research sites
The state is funding 75 percent of the $292 million facilities and infrastructure costs for four new research sites. The University is responsible for the other 25 percent, or $73 million
Frank Cerra, senior vice president of health sciences, said each facility should generate $20 million to $25 million in new project money.
More than $300 million of University research funding - roughly half of all current sponsored funding - feeds the biomedical science departments, University President Bob Bruininks said.
Minnesota has more than 500 biomedical-related businesses, employing around 250,000 people, University officials said.
Each facility will create roughly 1,000 new jobs, Cerra said, and will hopefully attract major investment companies to help develop the area.
"In the next five to seven years, there will probably be 5,000 to 7,000 new jobs over in that area, just from these kinds of investments," he said.
Faculty salaries, which aren't included in the $292 million, will be paid with multiple funds, Cerra said, including cost reductions, internal reallocations and support from partner organizations.
The University is competing with schools like Berkeley, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Wisconsin and Michigan, he [Cerra] said.
Despite the research expansion, officials acknowledged federal funding has been hard to come by.
"There's no question there's not as much money as there used to be," Cerra said.
With new facilities, "it will be much easier (to obtain funding) than it was two months ago," he [Cerra] said.
Bruininks said "relatively flat" funding from the National Institutes of Health is "barely keeping pace with inflation."
What do the numbers say?
The University lagged in federal research expenditures behind schools like Michigan and Wisconsin, according to 2006 data from the Center for Measuring University Performance.
It's also ranked below the same schools in biological sciences, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The University's Medical School is also ranked lower than Ohio State University and Wisconsin by the same rankings.
In their goal to become a top three research institution, University officials have used the Center for Measuring University Performance's rankings as a benchmark.
According to 2007 rankings, the University was in the second tier of top public-research universities - in the top 13 overall.
Compared to 2006, the University remained relatively stagnant in rankings, but the number of peer schools in the same tier rose from three to five.
"Faculty salaries, which aren't included in the $292 million, will be paid with multiple funds, Cerra said, including cost reductions, internal reallocations and support from partner organizations."
And how much did the acquisition of Jacko and Sainfort cost? And you are going to fill four buildings with that caliber of faculty and fund it with cost reductions and internal reallocations and..?
In your dreams, Frank.
Let's see, would that be from the paper clip fund?
Maybe we could stop buying shredders and do it by hand?
Internal reallocation? Why don't we just do away with the English department, the philosophy department, art history... You know, any of those disciplines that don't bring in research m-o-n-e-y.
"For an individual, $1 million is frequently a starting point for salary and start-up money. If you're doing research with a group, it could be $10 million, $15 million, up to $25 million. That's the nature of the marketplace." Frank Cerra
A million here, 25 million there... Pretty soon we are talking about real money.
(Apparently Frank believes in the American method: Shoot first and ask questions later.)