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University of Missouri System

Life Sciences Initiative

The growing field of life sciences provides opportunities to improve the lives of Missourians by creating jobs and capitalizing on innovations in health, agriculture and the environment. If the State of Missouri is to become a life sciences state, the University of Missouri must strengthen its ability to compete nationally for external research funding and the best researchers through increased investments in facilities, equipment and people. The UM System has proposed a life sciences legislative package to acquire state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment that will enhance our ability to recruit and retain the nation's top research scientists. The University's life sciences legislative proposal already has attracted bipartisan support.

Research Facilities and Equipment:

The University of Missouri is asking the state to authorize the Missouri Health and Educational Facilities Authority (MoHEFA) to issue $190.4 million in bonds to construct and renovate life sciences and economic development infrastructure on the four campuses, beginning in fiscal year 2008 or later. MoHEFA assists not-for-profit health and educational institutions in borrowing funds at the lowest possible cost. Interest paid on the bonds is exempt from federal and Missouri state income taxation, resulting in lower interest rates and substantial savings. The bonds do not constitute a debt or liability of the state of Missouri or University of Missouri ; therefore, statewide voter approval is not required.

The bond issue would fund six projects:

For details about the above projects, click here.

By leveraging the state's investment, UM anticipates raising five dollars through federal and private sources for every one state dollar invested. Institutions with leading facilities and programs attract the best researchers, who then in return attract new federal dollars. Additionally, the University is working to secure millions in private funds to assist in financing these projects.

This investment also would create jobs in both construction and scientific fields across the state. In addition, as new intellectual property is developed from life sciences research, new businesses and investments will be attracted to Missouri . In other states, entire industries have developed around the process of converting discoveries into products that can then be commercialized.

Endowed Chairs:

The University established the endowed chairs program in 1995 by leveraging state and University resources to attract funding from external sources, with the goal of creating and supporting elite faculty positions. The program required three funding sources: a gift from a private donor, a match from the state, and a funded faculty position from the participating campus. The program raised approximately $90 million from private sources and was a successful mechanism for attracting and retaining nearly 120 world-class faculty across the academic fields.

This program also strengthened the University's research capacity and the state's economic development. Over the past three years alone, endowed faculty have generated approximately $98 million in external research funding, representing a return on the state's investment of 800 percent and an additional $250 million in economic output for Missouri 's economy.

The University is asking the state to establish the Missouri Life Sciences Endowed Chair program, which would enable the University to attract and compete nationally for the leading life sciences researchers. Assuming results similar to the last endowed chairs program, the University would immediately realize 100 percent return on investment through the external funds raised from donors, in addition to the economic output these faculty would generate for Missouri 's economy.

Life Sciences Reinvestment Districts:

Several life sciences institutions across the state are joining together in asking the state to approve a life sciences tax increment financing (TIF) for the purpose of funding life sciences projects. This reinvestment of state tax revenue generated by life sciences/healthcare for-profit companies within regional “life sciences reinvestment districts” would be allocated to not-for-profit academic, research, or healthcare institutions or organizations engaged in competitive research, development, or commercialization in the life sciences.

According to the draft proposal, the University of Missouri would be eligible to compete for the reinvestment funds by submitting applications to the Life Sciences Research Board and could use the funds to increase the capacity for life sciences research, including funding facilities, equipment, or researchers.

 

Facilities Projects:

Benton-Stadler Renovations–UMSL         $23,913,000

Mechanical Engineering Addition/Renovation–UMR         $18,617,000

Engineering Building East Renovation–UMC         $20,910,000

Health Sciences Building Phase 2–UMKC         $42,800,000

Health Sciences Building Phase 1 Space Completion–UMKC         $9,200,000

Health Sciences Research Center–UMC         $75,000,000