What if an institution attracted the best and the brightest biomedical researchers from around the globe, but a lack of funding prevented them from doing their best work? The MGH Research Scholars program was designed to address this problem by providing funding to those gifted researchers. In just over four years, the program has established an impressive track record.
The program, established thanks to a dedicated group of founding donors, is off to an impressive start. To date, 36 scholars have received funding. Harry Orf, PhD, senior vice president for Research, is not taking his eye off the goal of raising funds for 50 MGH Research Scholars, many of whom conduct basic research.
Research Sets MGH Apart
“We need support for basic, fundamental research because virtually all the advances that have an impact on patients start in the laboratory,” Dr. Orf explains.“However, most patients are unaware of this. Consequently, grateful Mass General patients who contribute to research tend to support a specific physician or program.”
“We need support for basic, fundamental research because virtually all the advances that have an impact on patients start in the laboratory.”
Meanwhile, promising young investigators or research staff who pursue unconventional paths to discovery may be held back due to lack of funding. “Fortunately, the MGH Research Scholars program has attracted a group of donors who understand the research vision at Mass General,” says Dr. Orf. “We have a huge basic research component, and it is linked to the bedside and back to the bench. It is what distinguishes Mass General from other hospitals.”
It didn’t take long for the MGH Research Scholars program to generate a buzz among the hospital’s investigators. Anyone who devotes at least 80 percent of his or her time to research, including a clinician, is encouraged to apply for the funding. Applicants submit a portfolio of their work, which is reviewed by Jack Szostak, PhD, Nobel Laureate, and Bruce Walker, MD, respected physician-researcher, co-chairs of the MGH Research Scholars Award Committee. Several award recipients subsequently have received major grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funders.
Philanthropy is Crucial
The NIH’s diminished research budget makes philanthropy more important than ever. “Bioscience is destined to have a major impact on our lives throughout the 21st century,” says Dr. Orf. “Our research enterprise is spread over 30 different departments, centers and programs, so we are committed to educating the general public, as well as our donors, about the link between basic science and advances in human health.”
Learn how you can support an MGH Research Scholar and help advance basic research by contacting us today.