Jul 11
"State legislators are eyeing the creation of a $100 million fund that would provide matching research grants to public and private institutions, a proposal that officials believe will help keep the state competitive when it comes to attracting federal money for such projects. The program would allow universities and colleges that land grants from federal agencies, foundations and other non-state funding groups to tap into its borrowed funds to meet matching requirements. "The bill would provide funding that would enable us to be more competitive for certain kinds of federal grants," said Michael Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement at UMass Amherst. He noted, for example, that federal Department of Energy grants require a 20 percent match and there are other grant programs, especially in the area of demonstration projects such as wind energy, that call for a 50 percent match. With funding tight, Malone said "some specific relief for these kinds of projects would be helpful" and would bring Massachusetts into a more level playing field with other states that already have matching research grant programs. It would also entice faculty to apply for more grants than they do now, said Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, who sponsored an early version of the bill in January. Scibak said there are many times that researchers throughout the state don't apply for grants because the odds of securing a required match in a short period of time are stacked against them. "There have been situations where we're not getting grants or we're not applying because we can't get a match," Scibak said..." View the full article