NIH Offers Flood Relief to Dakotans
As the flooding Red River receded from its trespass into the streets of Grand Forks, N.D., NIH largesse rushed in, taking the form of funds to replace supplies and equipment that grantees may have lost, relaxed deadlines for the receipt of grant applications, and funding for a high school or college student to spend up to 2 months this summer rehabilitating damaged laboratories.
The offer was made in the form of an Apr. 25 letter from HHS Secretary Donna Shalala to Dr. Kendall Baker, president of the University of North Dakota. UND holds some $2.5 million in NIH grants.
"There will be instances, I am sure, where investigators will need to replace supplies and equipment before they can reactivate their laboratories," said Shalala. Those suffering losses were to report damages to the relevant NIH program directors. "We anticipate that we will be able to provide supplemental funding in these situations," she predicted.
Dr. Wendy Baldwin, NIH deputy director for extramural research, estimates that grantees have suffered $400,000 to $500,000 in grant-related costs as a result of flooding.
As of May 7, only one scientist took Shalala up on her offer of relief from a grant application deadline. Researcher Kevin McCaul of North Dakota State University in Fargo requested a few extra weeks to prepare an application. "Of course we have no problem accommodating that," said DRG's Suzanne Fisher.
Shalala urged potential and active NIH grantees in North Dakota to contact NIH for any additional federal aid to restore their activities.
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