Texas A&M Receives Gift From TIRR Foundation For Spinal Cord Injury Research

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The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Foundation has announced a multi-year commitment totaling $1.4 million to Texas A&M University to enhance faculty and research to impact spinal cord injuries.

At Texas A&M University a newly announced philanthropic partnership is working to bring new multidisciplinary research and scholarship to seek solutions to spinal cord injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.  The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Foundation has announced a gift of $1.4 million that will support the hiring of at least four new faculty scholars at Texas A&M.  In turn, Texas A&M University’s Colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts, Science and Medicine will match this commitment by providing for the annual salary and benefits, laboratory and additional startup support for the hired faculty through its campus-wide collaborative center, the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience (TAMIN).

“This gift marks a new opportunity to bring talented faculty to Texas and new paths to chart in the arena of spinal cord injury,” said Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M University. “I am proud to have the philanthropic partnership with TIRR Foundation, which understands and emphasizes the importance of collaborative research environments and transformational learning experiences that, in turn, impact the state, nation and world.”

The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to improve the lives of people who have sustained central nervous system damage through injury or disease. TIRR Foundation created, directs and funds Mission Connect, a collaborative neurotrauma research project. Mission Connect is focused on supporting the discovery of preventions, treatments and cures for central nervous system damage caused by brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative diseases. TIRR Foundation also supports Moran Camp Xtreme, a camp for wheelchair-enabled children and young adults.

“We are excited to join Texas A&M University in this effort and commend the university leadership for their commitment to impact the issue of spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation,” said Cynthia Adkins, executive director, TIRR Foundation. “We hope others will join us and Texas A&M in this effort by supporting faculty and their research that can directly result in better futures for those impacted by these traumatic injuries.”

“This partnership signals the potential impacts when universities, their faculty and partners who support research can have on our society,” said Dr. Karan Watson, Texas A&M provost and executive vice president. “I thank TIRR Foundation for joining us in this opportunity and look forward to sharing the work of our current and new faculty in the years to come.”

Professor Jim Grau, former chair of TAMIN, will coordinate the hiring of the new faculty with their appropriate academic department and colleges.  “I have been very pleased by the commitments from department heads, deans, Provost Karan Watson, the vice president for research and others to making this effort possible,” he said. “We wouldn’t have this potential for the high-caliber new hires without the support from TIRR Foundation and the university administration.”

Recruitment for the four positions will commence immediately, with the intention for two hires in 2016 and remaining hires over following two years.  The newly acquired faculty will receive the title of “TIRR Foundation Scholars” and be eligible for future consideration of TIRR Foundation grants on specific research projects.  Additionally, these faculty members will aggressively pursue federal funding for their research from National Institutes for Health and other organizations.

“Having a cadre of excellent faculty working towards common goals and supported by appropriate resources creates an environment for success,” commented Watson. “This partnership ensures Texas A&M will continue to lead in improving the lives of those impacted by spinal cord injury.”

TIRR Foundation gift will be counted among the leading contributions to the “Lead by Example” comprehensive campaign underway at Texas A&M. The campaign is combining individual philanthropic investment across all colleges and programs to demonstrate the university’s leadership in impacting the greatest challenges facing society today.

Anyone interested in supporting research and rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries can make a gift to the TIRR Foundation via its website at http://www.tirrfoundation.org/ or through the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience at http://tamin.tamu.edu/.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world’s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey (2014), based on expenditures of more than $854 million in fiscal year 2014. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

Media contact: Lane Stephenson, News & Information Services, at (979) 845-4662 or l-stephenson@tamu.edu
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