June 04, 2024

The Welch Foundation Announces More Than $40 Million in Texas Research Grant and Program Funding

Houston, TX – June 4, 2024 -- The Welch Foundation, one of the nation’s largest sources of private funding for basic chemical research, has announced a notable sum of $40.525 million in research grants and program funding for 2024. This includes the foundation’s long-standing research grant funding to Texas institutions, along with two of the new programs launched in 2023, Equipment Grants and Postdoctoral Fellowships. In addition, just last month the foundation committed $10 million to the Texas A&M Foundation to establish the Welch-Hagler Fellows at Texas A&M University’s Hagler Institute for Advanced Study.

“Ongoing basic chemical research is critically important for helping to solve current and future problems,” said Adam Kuspa, President of The Welch Foundation. “We strongly believe the foundation’s continued support of the research grant program, combined with these new programs, will yield even more exciting developments as we work to advance chemistry and improve our lives.”

The Welch Foundation’s $28.5 million in research grant funding will be allocated over the next three years and encompasses 95 grants across 19 institutions. The program provides a minimum of $100,000 per year in funding to support research in chemistry by a full-time regular faculty member at a university, college, or educational institution located within Texas with tenure or on tenure-track who serves as principal investigator. Grant highlights include:

James Shee, Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Rice University aims to create methods to analyze strong electron correlation and in turn, receive chemically intuitive insights into complex molecules and improve quantum chemistry models at lower computational costs. This newly funded grant aims to advance fundamental theoretical chemistry while paving the way to a new paradigm of electronic structure theory.

David Corey, Rusty Kelly Professorship in Medical Science Professor in the Pharmacology and Biochemistry Department at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has performed 30 years of Welch-funded research centered around the transcription, repair and replication of DNA inside of mammalian cells. After a brief gap in funding, he hopes to investigate R-loop formation more thoroughly, specifically how it affects gene expression and key cellular processes, as well as to expand the number of potential therapeutic targets and enhance our understanding of gene regulation.

Jacinta C. Conrad, Frank M. Tiller Professor in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at University of Houston has pioneered nanoparticle tracking methods for characterizing cooperative dynamics in supercooled and crowded suspension. She plans to use this renewed funding to examine the nature of the glass transition, which she describes as one of the “most intriguing open problems in physical chemistry.”

The Welch Foundation’s Equipment Grant Program provides supplemental funding to Departmental Grants, allowing these programs to acquire equipment to improve a department’s capabilities in chemical research and to give faculty and students a richer laboratory experience. The foundation awarded 15 institutions with equipment grants, for a total of $1.125 million, with university matching funds of $373,423.

As a result of this grant program, Texas A&M International University will be able to acquire a GCMS system to allow for more cutting-edge research, boost the research productivity of faculty and students in engineering, environmental chemistry, anthropology, biology and medicinal chemistry, as well as enable current externally funded grants. With an 89% Hispanic student population, this instrumentation will further aid in preparing first generation Hispanic students for post-baccalaureate careers or graduate school. Along with impacting K-12 STEM education in the region, the research will also allow them to make contributions to the fields of petroleum and environmental metabolomics.

The Welch Foundation’s Postdoctoral Fellows Grant Program provides three-year fellowships to recent PhD graduates from around the world to support the development of their clinical research careers in Texas. The foundation has awarded three Postdoctoral Fellows to three separate institutions – Texas A&M University, Rice University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Each institution will receive $100,000 annually to support these Fellows, for a three-year total of $900,000.

Finally, The Welch Foundation recently announced a $10 million grant to Texas A&M University’s Hagler Institute for Advanced Study. The grant establishes the Welch-Hagler Fellows, who will be selected from national academy-level researchers in chemistry and allied interdisciplinary research. These leading scholars will work with Texas A&M faculty and students to further position the university at the forefront of breakthroughs in chemistry.

“Funding from The Welch Foundation is an important resource to Texas institutions,” said Adam Kuspa, President of The Welch Foundation. “We are pleased to support research across these various institutions and across all fields of chemistry, and we are continuously impressed by the work our grant and funding recipients are doing.”

Since 1954, the Houston-based Welch Foundation has contributed over $1.1 billion to the advancement of chemistry through research grants, departmental research grants, endowed chairs and support for other chemistry-related programs in Texas. In 2023, the Foundation expanded its grant programs to include the Postdoctoral Fellows Grant Program, the Catalyst for Discovery Program Grants, the WelchX Retreat and Pilot Grants, and the Equipment Grant Program. The Foundation also bestows the annual Welch Award in Chemistry, recognizing achievement in basic research internationally, and the Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research to early-career Texas scientists.

For more information, visit www.welch1.org.

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