At a time when organizations should be taking bigger innovation risks, their bias is in the other direction. But not UMass President Wilson, who understands that avoiding risky projects altogether strangles growth.

Last week, Wilson announced a total of $1 million in awards to faculty investigators from the President’s Science and Technology (S&T) Initiatives Fund for the 2009-2010 academic year. Selected for a $100,000 award at UMass Boston was the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy. Principal Investigator is Andrew Grosovsky, Dean, College of Science and Math, with partners at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. The center will launch in the VDC.

University licensing income is the source of funding for the awards. See the description of this year’s funded projects.

In 2006, Robert Chen, UMass Boston, Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences Department, received a $150,000 award for the Center for Coastal Environmental Sensor Networks. That award leveraged $1 million in federal grants in the following years, and a $3 million proposal recently submitted to the federal government with Trophos Energy, a venture-funded startup company that researches and commercializes microbial fuel cell technology.

“Fund-supported projects have leveraged more than $100 million in external resources for UMass, set the stage for several important new initiatives, helped campuses secure new industry and institutional partners and further strengthened the University’s role in supporting the economic development of the state,” according to Wilson.

The Boston campus S&T programs receive extensive planning assistance from the VDC, and campus match. We already are recruiting applicants for 2010-2011. Interested? – WJB