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, 34 (6), 904-16

Biomedical Engineering and the Whitaker Foundation: A Thirty-Year Partnership


Biomedical Engineering and the Whitaker Foundation: A Thirty-Year Partnership

Peter G Katona. Ann Biomed Eng.


The Whitaker Foundation, established in 1976, will close in 2006. It will have made awards totaling 805 million US dollars, with over 710 million US dollars in biomedical engineering. Close to 1,500 faculty members received research grants to help them establish academic careers in biomedical engineering, and over 400 graduate students received fellowship support. The Foundation also supported the enhancement or establishment of educational programs in biomedical engineering, especially encouraging the formation of departments. The number of biomedical engineering departments almost tripled during the past 10 years, now numbering close to 75. Leveraging of grants enabled the construction of 13 new buildings. With the field firmly established, the grant program supporting new faculty members will be the one missed the most. New opportunities, however, are emerging as interdisciplinary research is being embraced by both public and private funding sources. The life sciences will be increasingly incorporated into all areas of engineering, and it is expected that such "biofication" will pose both opportunities and challenges to biomedical engineering.

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