"Biomedical engineering has gone through a period of tremendous growth in recent years," said Whitaker Foundation President and CEO Peter G. Katona, Sc.D. "It has been a privilege to play a role in bringing this emerging field into the academic mainstream."
Ten years ago, student interest was rising, employment opportunities were expanding, and research advances were opening up broad new areas for commercial development and clinical application.
At that time, the foundation decided it could have a significantimpact on the field by investing all of its resources over a relatively short time. The goal was to accelerate the formation of a solid educational infrastructure at universities and a well-trained cadre of researchers and teachers.
In 1991, the foundation set a closing date of 2006 and began to create new grant programs. Annual spending rose from $14 million in 1991 to an estimated $60 million to $70 million each year from 2001 through 2005.
This increased level of spending has supported more than 1,900 individual faculty members and students, the establishment and enhancement of innovative educational programs, and the construction of buildings to house leading biomedical engineering departments.
The foundation will continue to fund existing multiyear awards, but will begin to phase out the awarding of new grants as follows:
The foundation is still reviewing applications submitted during the 2000-2001 competition. It will no longer accept new applications for these large, long-term institutional awards.