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PhRMA Foundation Supports Informatics Development with Four New Award Programs

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The PhRMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the broader-reaching PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) industry organization, has established three new award programs for young scientists in the field of informatics this year and is planning to announce the creation of a $1 million institutional award in the informatics area later this month.

The postdoctoral fellowship, sabbatical fellowship, and research starter grant programs in informatics will complement similar existing PhRMA Foundation programs in pharmacology/toxicology, health outcomes, pharmaceutics, and clinical pharmacology.

The postdoctoral fellowship will support researchers planning to “bridge the gap between experimental and computational approaches in genomic and biomedical studies,” according to the foundation’s web site (www.phrma foundation.org). It consists of a one-year $40,000 stipend that can be extended for a second year.

The sabbatical fellowship and the research starter grant are designed for researchers planning to integrate information technology with advanced biological, chemical, and pharmacological sciences. The sabbatical fellowship provides up to $40,000 for a project lasting up to one year and the research starter grant pays $30,000 for up to two years.

The awards — the foundation’s first direct support of informatics education and development — are largely the result of a recent survey of former award winners and PhRMA members. Among the range of issues identified by survey respondents, “they saw the greatest need in the informatics area,” said Eileen McCarron, director of development of the foundation.

The deadline for applying for the informatics awards was October 1. The first round of applicants will be evaluated over the next two months and winners will be announced on December 15. “Judging from the number of inquiries, there is a lot of interest out there,” said McCarron. However, the exact number of awards has yet to be determined.

Later this month, the PhRMA Foundation will announce an institutional informatics award totaling $1 million. Further details were not available when BioInform went to press.

The PhRMA Foundation has funded research and training of scientists and physicians in areas related to pharmaceutical industry interests since 1965. It focuses on promoting scientists in their early careers. The foundation receives its funds from PhRMA members who contribute according to their size. In 1999, it awarded more than $1.3 million in grants.

— JK

 

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