ND lawmakers reject $500K for Minot State geriatric research ‘center of excellence’

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ND lawmakers reject $500K for geriatric research

BISMARCK, N.D. — Minot State University’s request for a $500,000 “centers of excellence” grant for a geriatric research center was turned down Tuesday by North Dakota lawmakers, who said the project duplicates similar programs elsewhere in the state.

Separately, the Legislature’s interim Budget Section committee approved two North Dakota State University grants totaling $6.7 million, to help develop sensors, advanced semiconductors and solar energy cells.

Minot State President David Fuller said Minot’s Trinity Health hospital was prepared to contribute $1 million for the research center if the university landed the $500,000 grant.

The center would research the best ways to care for elderly people, a problem that is becoming more acute in North Dakota and the nation as the post-World War II baby-boom generation begins to retire, Fuller said.

“It will address, in our view, a very significant social and health and welfare problem and need,” Fuller said.

Minot’s grant request was defeated when the Budget Section deadlocked 19-19 on whether it should be awarded.

Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, the House majority leader, said other research on elder care is going on within North Dakota’s university system.

The centers of excellence grants were intended to help create outside jobs, but most of the Minot center’s benefit would go to the campus itself, Carlson said.

Rep. Ken Svedjan, R-Grand Forks, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the proposal had “virtually no history,” Svedjan said. “We’re talking about something that is more of a startup … with no track record up to this point.”

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