Researchers and partners in NC State’s biotechnology and genomics initiatives have found an enthusiastic ally in the William R. Kenan, Jr., Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science at NC State. In the past year, the Institute has invested nearly $300,000 in genomics initiatives. Those investments have already been leveraged for an additional $1.6 million in government and industry grants, and it’s not over yet.

The lion’s share of the 2001 project funds went to faculty in four colleges at NC State. Two of those awards will provide resources for fundraising for major nanotechnology and proteomics equipment. The Institute also provided research project support for university collaborations with eight start-up companies—three involving NC State faculty members—through the Collaborative Funding Assistance Program, a highly leveraged partnership with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Other biotechnology programs receiving Kenan Institute funding in 2001 include:
• The 2001 Citizens’ Technology Forum on Genetically Modified Foods
• NASA Specialized Center for Research & Training in Gravitational Biology
• The Statistics and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute
• The Gordon-Kenan Graduate Research Seminar in Bioinorganic Chemistry

“We provide seed money for new initiatives with a high potential of obtaining an industry or government grant at least three times larger,” says Kenan Institute director Dr. Ruben Carbonell. “In 2001, our biotechnology investments were multiplied five times.” In addition to money for research projects and equipment, typical uses for Kenan funds include conferences, faculty release time for writing center or consortia proposals, and costs of experiments to provide preliminary data necessary for further grantseeking. Perhaps the most visible Kenan-sponsored project has been the Emerging Issues Forum. This year's forum, "Biotechnology and Humanity at the Crossroads of a New Era," attracted 500 participants including many of the nation's top scientists, ethicists, entrepreneurs and public officials, to examine and debate issues related to biotechnology.

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