UF getting $93 million in stimulus money
Published: Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 7:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 7:40 p.m.
The University of Florida is receiving nearly $93 million and counting in research grants from the federal stimulus, including $30 million to study whether exercise can prevent disabilities in the elderly.
University researchers have submitted about 500 grant proposals for stimulus money and have led the state in getting the funding, said Win Phillips, UF's vice president for research. The money recently has started flowing at a greater pace, he said, including an announcement this week about funding for the exercise study.
"The stimulus money, at these times of financial constraint, allows us to keep these big research enterprises going," Phillips said.
The six-year exercise study costs more than $60 million, with the National Institute of Aging providing the remainder from money outside the stimulus. The study will gauge whether exercise such as walking and stretching can help older people prevent major mobility disabilities, defined as the inability to walk a quarter of a mile.
"Our primary goal is to maintain people's independence," said principal investigator Dr. Marco Pahor, director of the UF Institute on Aging.
While it is believed physical activity is good for the health of older people, he said, evidence is lacking about whether it can prevent disabilities. His research seeks to fill the gap in that knowledge with a study involving 1,600 participants ages 70 to 89 who are sedentary and at risk for such disabilities.
UF is coordinating the study and is one of seven sites, including Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh, where it will be conducted. Recruitment will start in 2010, with participants randomly assigned to a program of moderate physical activity or a health education program.
UF also is getting a variety of other stimulus grants for health research, including studies on Parkinson's disease and organ regeneration. Additional money is going to research in engineering and other sciences.
The news comes as UF was able to increase research funding last year, despite the recession and budget cuts. Phillips praised the stimulus, signed into law earlier this year, for including funding that would help solve long-term problems.
"That's really forward-thinking," he said. "That doesn't always happen."
Nathan Crabbe can be reached at 338-3176 or email@example.com.
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