July 01, 2022

The Welch Foundation Announces Nearly $28 Million in Texas Research Grant Funding

Houston, TX – The Welch Foundation, one of the nation’s largest sources of private funding for basic chemical research, has announced its 2022 research grant funding of nearly $28 million. The funds will be allocated over the next three years, with annual payouts of $9,200,000 to colleges and universities across the state of Texas. Since inception, the Foundation has contributed over $1.1 billion to the advancement of chemistry.

"Today, chemical research is more important than ever for improving the human condition and for meeting the global challenges that threaten our collective future," said Adam Kuspa, president of the Welch Foundation. "Basic research in chemistry and related fields provides the foundation for groundbreaking scientific discoveries that can help solve current problems and sustain progress. We have an excellent class of grant recipients this year and look forward to hearing about their future innovations.”

The grants will help fund a number of research projects and investigators. Several highlights include:

  • Christian Whitman, Professor of Chemical Biology & Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Texas in Austin, will explore the intricacies of mechanistic, kinetic, and structural enzymes, specifically within the Tomaymycin Biosynthetic Pathway enzyme, which is known for its anti-tumor activity. The funding will not only support understanding the relationship between structure and function in enzyme-catalyzed reactions, but also provide insights into the future of enzyme evolution. Dr. Whitman previously received Welch funding from 1996-2020.
  • Josephine Chu Ferreon, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at Baylor College of Medicine, has focused her research over the past 20 years utilizing state-of-the-art biophysical techniques, protein behavior, and illuminating their function and dysfunction. New to the Welch Foundation, she plans to utilize the grant to advance research on intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and their potential applications in biotechnology and nanomedicine.
  • David C. Powers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, leads a research group focused on the interface of organic and inorganic chemistry to develop new methods for the sustainable synthesis of functional molecules. His renewed Welch funding will allow them to dive deeper into research on shape-selective catalysis, solar energy storage in organic solar-thermal flow batteries, and aerobic oxidation chemistry for C–H functionalization reactions.

2022 University and College Funding Breakdown:

Houston-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 43 grants, totaling $12,900,000
  • Grants awarded to Rice University, Texas A&M University, University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and The University of Texas Medical Branch

Dallas-Fort Worth-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 18 grants, totaling $5,400,000
  • Grants awarded to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, The University of Texas at Dallas, and Southern Methodist University

Austin-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 24 grants, totaling $7,200,000
  • Grants awarded to The University of Texas at Austin

San Antonio-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 5 grants, totaling $1,500,000
  • Grants awarded to The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Trinity University

West Texas-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 1 grant, totaling $300,000
  • Grant awarded to The University of Texas at El Paso

North Texas-Area Universities

  • Received funding for 1 grant, totaling $300,000
  • Grants awarded to Texas Tech University

Since its inception in 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. The Foundation supports a number of notable initiatives, including The Welch Institute at Rice University. The Foundation also presents the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry and the Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research each year. The Welch Award recognizes individuals who have made important chemical research contributions which have a significant, positive influence on humankind. The recipient receives a gold medallion and $500,000. The Hackerman Award recognizes the accomplishments of chemical scientists in Texas who are early in their careers. The current monetary amount of the award is $100,000.

For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.welch1.org.