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Third set of awards are announced under interagency biodiversity program

Arlington, Va.-A consortium of Federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),have announced 12 new grants in the third set of awards in the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) program. Support for the program will total approximately $5 million per year over the next five years, shared among NIH, NSF and USDA, and administered by NIH's Fogarty International Center (FIC).

The ICBG program has three main objectives: to uncover new knowledge that will lead to improved therapies, to enhance scientific capacity building in developing nations, and to promote knowledge and conservation of iodiversity through model public-private partnerships with developing countries.

In announcing the awards, FIC director Gerald T. Keusch, said that "natural products have formed the basis of over half of currently available medicinal therapies around the world. Recent advances in drug discovery science and botanicals evaluation, coupled with the rapid disappearance of organisms from which new medicines may be derived, make this work more important today than ever."

He added that, "we see development of new and improved therapies from indigenous resources in a collaborative framework between U.S. and developing-country institutions as an important component of the evolving picture of the global health research agenda including access to life saving medications."

James Rodman, program director in NSF's division of environmental biology, added that "since 1993, when NSF joined in the sponsorship of this innovative program, the ICBG projects have been pioneering explorations around the world of the link between biodiversity, new therapeutic agents and indigenous economic development - all in a climate of intense scrutiny since the Rio Convention on Biodiversity."

This round of awards will support 12 groups, each designed
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Contact: Cheryl Dybas
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
19-Dec-2003


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