Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Monday, May 27, 2024

As the University of Miami celebrated a multimillion-dollar state research grant, Florida public university officials remained tight-lipped about the Legislature's support of a private institution in the face of public university budget cuts.

Gov. Charlie Crist announced the $80 million grant at a news conference Friday. The money will go toward UM's one-year-old Miami Institute for Human Genomics.

Richard Bookman, executive dean for research at UM's medical school, said the money represents a contract between the state and the university, which has promised to provide 296 high-wage jobs in the genetics institute.

The money comes from the Innovation Incentive Fund, a fund created by then-Gov. Jeb Bush for research and development projects.

Bookman emphasized that the money UM received was separate from the State University System's budget, which has received two budget cuts this academic year.

Although Florida public university officials applauded the Legislature's investment in research, some wondered why the state handed a multimillion-dollar gift to one private university while cutting $157 million from the public university system budget.

"I would like to hear the rationale for doing that," said Karen Holbrook, University of South Florida vice president for research and innovation.

In an e-mail from Washington, D.C., UF President Bernie Machen wrote that he hopes the Legislature will consider funding basic genetics research in the future.

"The award to the (University of) Miami is significant, and I do wish it had come to UF," Machen wrote.

UF has a genetic institute, which received $20 million in state funds for its building, said Diana Nolte, the institute's administrative assistant.

Kenneth Berns, the institute's director, declined to comment on UM receiving more state money for its genetic research.

UM's Bookman said one of the reasons UM received the money was because of the strong group of researchers it recruited from Duke University.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Florida's universities have a key role in the state's economic development, he said, and UF should follow UM's example of recruiting teams of scientists for its own genetic institute.

"I know UF's leadership knows and believes it," he said. "We need to shout that loud and clear from the rooftops."

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.