funds for the future
One of the nation's largest private funders for health care research has announced $23 million in fresh funds — and about a third of that is going into the hands of Houstonians.
The Welch Foundation, based in Houston, announced its 2021 research grant funding last week. Over the next three years, the funds will be be distributed in $7,520,000 payouts annually across the state of Texas. Since its founding in 1954, the foundation has doled out almost $1.1 billion to the advancement of chemistry.
"Ongoing basic chemical research is critical and provides the building blocks to help solve current and future problems," says Adam Kuspa, president of The Welch Foundation, in a news release. "Funding from The Welch Foundation is a valuable resource to Texas institutions. It helps set our state's researchers apart from others and we look forward to seeing what invaluable scientific contributions come from this year's grant recipients."
The universities in the Houston area that received a cut of this chunk of funding include Rice University, Texas A&M University, University of Houston, and Baylor College of Medicine for a total of $8,400,000 across 35 grants.
One of the Houston-area researchers who received funding is Leila Romero, assistant professor and CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research at Baylor University's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Romero and her team is exploring modes of asymmetric catalysis and to study how these new processes work. According to the release, the funding will also support the training of young graduate students at the institution who are on track to become future innovators in chemical synthesis.
Other Texas institutions in other major cities also received funding:
- The Dallas/Fort Worth area received funding for 42 grants, totaling $10,080,000. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, The University of Texas at Dallas, University of North Texas, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, and Texas Christian University were the recipient institutions.
- In Austin, the University of Texas Received funding for 11 grants, totaling $2,640,000.
- The University of Texas at San Antonio and Trinity University received the three grants — totaling $720,000 — that went to the San Antonio area.
- In West Texas, The University of Texas at El Paso received funding for 1 grant, totaling $240,000.
- Texas Tech University received funding for two grants, totaling $480,000
Last year, the Welch Foundation announced a $100 million gift to Rice University to establish The Welch Institute. The institute will foster the study of matter, the design and discovery of new materials, and nanotechnology, and it will be led by an independent board of directors and scientific advisory board.
Kuspa, who's led the foundation since September 2019, joined the Houston Innovators Podcast last December to discuss the new institute and the importance of supporting researchers in Texas.