State research commission shifts mission, shortens name

June 22, 2005

By hammersmith

To herald a broadened mission and new focus in the Arizona research community, the organization formerly known as the Arizona Disease Control Research Commission is becoming the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission.

Though the change officially becomes effective Aug. 12, the ABRC’s shifting place in the state’s bioindustry landscape has been a gradual one, brought about by Arizona’s initial move toward strengthening its biomedical sector several years ago.

“This is a growing scientific community,” commission Chairman Henry Reeves told the Phoenix Business Journal. “We’re bringing more people in to work in the biomedical area. As more come in, they are going to be doing research, supporting research, and will need seed money.”

The commission, created in 1984, is in charge of allocating state biomedical research dollars. According to the Business Journal, the ABRC is comprised of nine governor-appointed members–three from the scientific community, three from medicine, and three from the general public—who are obligated to meet at least four times a year. Dawn Schroeder has served as the commission’s executive director for the past 13 years.

The commissioners’ task is to sift through nearly 120 annual proposals and seek outside peer review to determine how state funds, generated by the state lottery and tobacco tax, should be awarded among Arizona’s biosciences community.

This year, the ABRC’s budget was $15 million, which it distributed among 55 contracts, according to the Business Journal.

Last year, the biggest recipient of ABRC funding was the Translational Genomics Research Institute, which won $5.5 million. The commission considers grant applications from the public universities, non-profit and for-profit research companies, as well as solo researchers.

Chairman Reeves told the Business Journal that nearly three-quarters of ABRC grant recipients have gone on to win subsequent funding from federal sources, such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

“It’s sort of like our mini NIH (National Institutes of Health),” commissioner Colleen Brophy told the Business Journal.

For more information:

Commission changing name, sharpening focus,” Phoenix Business Journal, 06/13/2005

Arizona Disease Control Research Commission