President Barack Obama has not been as good to the UW-Madison as some had hoped. The university's request for stimulus funding to dramatically increase the size of its primate research facilities has been denied.
"They took a shot at stimulus funding, and the grant was not funded," says UW spokesman Chris Barncard.
The UW-Madison sought $15 million in Recovery Act funding from the National Institutes of Health to significantly expand its National Primate Research Center. The NIH reviewed the request and last fall assigned it a score outside of the probable funding parameters. The UW did not call attention to this missed opportunity, which came to light only because others are now getting funding from this pot.
Currently the UW houses about 1,900 monkeys, including 1,400 at the primate center, one of eight in the nation. A summary of the NIH's review (PDF) provided to Isthmus says the project would have added 34 animal housing rooms and "expanded the main rhesus monkey colony by 50%." And it would have allowed the transfer of the approximately 500 monkeys from the aging Harlow Primate laboratory to the new facility, bringing its total capacity to about 2,500.
The review concluded that the project had "many strengths and a few weaknesses." Among the weaknesses: that it would benefit only a small group of researchers and that "there is a lack of evidence that this project will provide as many jobs as stated or promote sustainability." Also on this point: "There is no mention of any sustainable features (recycled content, Energy Star features)."
Buddy Capuano, the primate center's head veterinarian, says the UW must at some point address the infrastructure needs that prompted its request. "But there is no funding mechanism right now that would get anywhere near that amount of money."
By the way, he says, the UW's application included a section on sustainable features: "They just didn't read it well."