Delaware State University and the University of Delaware have received a $10.5 million federal grant to conduct cutting-edge scientific research on brain development and the neurobiology of learning.
DSU and UD officials along with the First State's entire Congressional contingent celebrated the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant from the National Institutes of Health at a Monday morning press conference in the university's Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. The grant from the NIH, a unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would fund the creation of the Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research, a joint endeavor by DSU and UD.
Delaware State University President Dr. Harry Williams said DSU would receive $7.3 million while "our friends at UD" would get almost $3.2 million over five years, under terms of the federal grant. He said this was the largest research grant DSU had ever received, garnering applause from the crowd on the second floor of the student center.
DSU Professor Of Biological Science Dr. Melissa Harrington was the principal investigator of the research grant. Harrington, the wife of State Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Camden-Wyoming), gave credit to UD Professor of Psychology Dr. Jeff Rosen and a slew of others for their help in procuring the grant.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) hailed the grant as clear evidence of how long Delaware State University had come from the days of yore, when not many Delaware students wanted to attend DSU, to today's status as a land grant university that both in-state and out-of-state students sought out. He pointed to the Lake Forest High School students he met with as part of the state's pilot "College Application Week" prior to visiting DSU as evidence.
Several of those students told Carper and U.S. Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) that Delaware State University was on their list of colleges receiving an application from them on the first day of the pilot.
U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), whose agenda in Congress includes a push for more made in America companies, said the grant was an important investment in America's economic security.
Harrington, the DSU professor, said there was a big benefit to bringing researchers together to share information and equipment and to learn from each other as a result. That included a course exchange program that would allow neuroscience graduate students at each university to take exchange classes at each university tuition free.
But DSU's Neuroscience Ph.D. program would have a biological focus while the neuroscience Ph.D. program at UD would be in the Department of Psychology, Harrington said.
"It benefits students of both universities to be able to draw on the specialized expertise available at each institution," she said. "We don't compete; we complement."