UO now included in prestigious science foundation

The UO's Department of Biology and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have been approved for funding support from the Portland chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS Foundation), a national organization that funds scholars engaged in science, engineering and medical research.

Since its founding in 1958, ARCS Foundation has awarded more than $90 million to 9,000-plus ARCS Scholars at 54 leading U.S. universities, including Caltech, Johns Hopkins, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and UCLA.

The UO joins Oregon Health & Science University and Oregon State University as the only three schools in the state that have programs approved for ARCS funding.

“Advancing scientific research and discovery is critical to our mission,” said interim UO President Scott Coltrane. “Our relationship with ARCS Foundation and the generosity of the Portland chapter’s members will increase our ability to attract and support the very best young scientists. Thanks to this partnership, these researchers will be even better positioned to lead and help solve some of society’s most pressing challenges.”

The ARCS Portland chapter is made up of 110 individual donors who are passionate about supporting young scientists. Over its 10 years of existence the Portland chapter has awarded $2.2 million in scholar awards. Each award amounts to $18,000 in unrestricted funds over a three-year period to an individual doctoral candidate.

In addition to helping cover day-to-day expenses, the awards enable students to travel to conferences so their research can be recognized, according to Aletha Anderson, president of the ARCS Portland chapter. “Our goal is to create the conditions for young scientists to most effectively focus on their work, and take on the science challenges of today and tomorrow,” she said.

At the UO, ARCS will seek specifically to fund doctoral students in biology and chemistry.

Anderson said that the quality of applied and basic research, faculty recognition at the national level, translational research, interdisciplinary connections across UO departments and institutes, competitive external research funding and faculty dedication to doctoral student support justified the inclusion of these two departments for ARCS Portland funding.

“Adding biology and chemistry at the University of Oregon is a significant step for ARCS Portland chapter,” Anderson said. “The approved colleges and departments we support at the three schools represent a wide range of science that is exciting for our members, donors and Oregon.”