Montana Biotechnology Center

Center Review Recommendation 3-13-08
(Academic Policy 103.o)


A. Written Report Summary:

1.     Purpose:  Stimulate applied and basic research in biotechnology; coordinate efforts between public and private sector research and enterprise; increase collaboration state-wide in the field of biotechnology.

2.     Objectives:   Seeks to further basic and applied research in biotechnology, which is the collection of biological methodologies that enable discovery and translation of research knowledge towards useful applications. Provides core services and instrumentation to support basic research. Serves as point-of-contact for biotechnology research and development.

3.     Anticipated activities:   

a.     Establish, collaborate in and administer centralized resources that broadly support research infrastructure. This includes a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory and related specialized equipment, inventory, and reagents serving 38 principle scientists on campus.

b.    Provide a one-stop point of contact for biotechnology-related interests.

c.     Conduct high-impact funded research in area(s) related to Center objectives.

4.     Other organizations involved:  Grant funding over the years has come from the National Institutes of Health, American Foundation for AIDS Research, the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Murdock Foundation, The James Pendleton Trust, and Wyeth Corporation, and the Rocky Mountain Regional Center for Biodefense. The center also collaborates with the biopharmaceutical company SIGA (Corvallis, OR).

5.     Reporting line: The Director reports to the Vice President for Research and Development.

6.     Relationships with institutional mission and contribution to academic programs: The Center supports biotechnology and biomedical research across academic departments, disciplines and colleges, through its research and services. See attached letters of recommendation.

7.     Similar programs: None

8.    Budget:

a.    See attached budget form

B. Review and Approval Process
The Faculty Senate through its Chair, who in turn shall distribute it to ECOS and other committees, and approve or disapprove the proposal by a vote of the Senate.

Review in terms of Scope as stated in academic policy 100.0
To provide instruction, scholarship, or service to the University, state or world by:  (1) focusing attention on an area of strength and/or addressing a critical issue, or (2) facilitating collaborative, multi-disciplinary endeavors to combine resources from several programs or institutions to address issues of common interest.

Review in terms of the University's mission.

Comments: The Center Director has a tenure line in DBS. The Director reports to Vice President of Research Dan Dwyer.

Does ECOS/Faculty Senate consider this center controversial? No.

Is the relationship with academic units beneficial? Yes.  The Center has made improvements in this area since the last review (2005-2006).  The Center provides a critical service through its Invitrogen Supply Center that is used by many research groups on campus.  In addition, at least one research group outside the Center is making regular use of the BL3 facility maintained by the Center.

Is the program revenue neutral or does it consume more resources than it generates? If so, is the use of University resources justified?  In the last fiscal year, approximately 44% of the Center funding was from state funds.  The majority of state funding is for the director's salary and fringe, and some of this is provided by indirect costs from extramural funding.  In the next year extramural funding is slated to increase and the percentage of state funding will decrease to 36%.  Extramural funding is expected to continue over the next five years.

§   Is the entity making progress toward objectives? Yes.

Recommendation: Approve the Montana Biotechnology Center for five years.
The MBC is well funded, collaborates widely among on-campus researchers, and is engaged with several national granting institutions.