March of Dimes supports top scientists, new study finds

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., AUGUST 5, 2003 Young scientists who win research grants from the March of Dimes are more productive, more likely to be on the faculty of prestigious research institutions, and more likely also to receive federal funding for their work than unsuccessful grant applicants, according to a study published in the journal Academic Medicine.

"Junior scientists funded by the March of Dimes are more likely to publish and to go on to contribute to scientific discovery," says Brian Mavis, Ph.D., associate professor, Office of Medical Education Research and Development, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, and co-author of the study with Michael Katz, M.D., senior vice president for Research and Global Programs at the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

Dr. Katz says, "The March of Dimes has very rigorous selection criteria and process for our research grant applicants. These findings validate that we are choosing wisely and investing successfully in individuals who are best able to benefit from our financial support."

The study compared 244 recipients of the March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award Program grants from 1983 to 1987 with 195 unsuccessful applicants, and tracked their careers over a ten-year period. Participation in this grant program is limited to scientists who have earned a Ph.D. or M.D., hold a faculty appointment, and who do not yet have major funding. Generally, these are individuals who have started their own independent research programs, after years of working in the laboratories of more senior scientists. Grants are given for research consistent with the goals of the foundation, in fields such as cell and molecular biology, genetics, neuroscience, developmental biology, and biochemistry.

"We were also very pleased that these young scientists supported by the March of Dimes reported that our funding enhanced their confidence and recognition," says Dr. Katz.

Contact: Michele Kling
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

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