Duke University has announced grants totaling $20 million to create an endowment in its Pratt School of Engineering that will foster research collaborations between bioengineers and clinicians, with the goal of developing new technologies to improve patient care.
In 2005, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation selected Duke and eight other universities to participate in an effort to accelerate the process of translating biomedical research into practical applications. The Duke Coulter Translational Partnership in biomedical engineering will be endowed with a $10 million grant from the Coulter Foundation and an additional $10 million from the university and the Fitzpatrick Foundation.
Since its creation, the partnership has funded nineteen projects in a range of areas, including detecting prostate cancer and esophageal pre-cancerous lesions, treating hemophilia, and controlling urinary function for paraplegics. In total, the projects have resulted in three startup companies, several licensing agreements, more than $35 million in venture capital and investments, and another $47 million in federal, state, and foundation grants.
"This program started out as a grand experiment to link the relatively new discipline of biomedical engineering to translational research," said Coulter Foundation president Sue Van. "With the capabilities and financial sustainability of this endowment, Duke is now a champion at the forefront of translational research and can systematically and successfully move innovation out of the university to benefit humanity."