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Only a few months after a scare that Harvard might face deep cuts to its federal science funding, things may be looking up for Harvard Medical School.
The Medical School has now raised $722 million as part of its capital campaign, marking 96 percent of its fundraising target—and the University recently granted the school what Medical School Dean George Q. Daley ’82 called a “very significant” funding package. In an interview earlier this month, Daley said he plans to use the new funds to debut a “collaborative” research program.
The Medical School’s fundraising drive, begun Nov. 2014, forms part of an ongoing University-wide capital campaign that surpassed its $6.5 billion goal in 2016 and, by June 2017, had amassed a record-breaking 500,000 gifts and $8 billion. The Medical School’s portion of the campaign, named “The World Is Waiting: The Campaign for Harvard Medicine,” has raised $16 million since September. It is slated to end six months from now on June 30, 2018.
Daley said in the Dec. 2017 interview that he spent more than a third of his first year as dean on fundraising. That estimate is backed up by statistics—Daley’s chief of staff, M. William Lensch, calculated that Daley spent 37 percent of 2017 fundraising.
When Daley first assumed the deanship in Jan. 2017, the Medical School had raised just over $600 million—80 percent of its capital campaign goal. In an interview in Dec. 2016, just before he took charge, Daley listed the capital campaign as one of his principal priorities.
Though Daley said he expects the Medical School to reach its fundraising goal by the June 2018 deadline, he said that financial aid for medical students—who face more than $90,000 in tuition costs per year—will remain a top personal “priority” next year.
“We are an unfortunately expensive education,” Daley said. “Somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of our students require aid and we fortunately have the resources to provide it. But that still means students take loans and incur a heavy burden of debt, and I’d like to keep that from growing in the future.”
Daley said he hopes to ultimately double the number of scholarship-funded M.D./Ph.D. students to 24.
At the start of its campaign, the Medical School labeled four major priority groups: “Discovery,” “Education,” “Service,” and “Leadership,” each corresponding to key Medical School initiatives. Though more than 60 percent of contributions to date have been dedicated to research, Daley said other campaign priorities will need continued support.
“There was still certain buckets that we’re waiting to be filled, in particular the financial aid and education bucket,” Daley said. “I am confident that in the last six months of the campaign we will exceed our goals and hopefully be able to keep some of that momentum fundraising going.”
In the meantime, Daley said he will focus on the “collaborative” grants program made possible by the University’s recent decision to grant the Medical School a funding package.
“After nearly a decade of resource constraint on the quadrangle, we now will be able to invest very heavily in the excellence of our science and research,” he said.
Daley said the new collaborative grants program will finance interdisciplinary research between Medical School affiliates. He said he thinks the new initiative could potentially allow Medical School researchers to become more competitive in obtaining external funding.
In particular, the grants program will likely stimulate commercial investment, Daley said.
“It’s a way of seeding new scientific initiatives that hopefully will be a magnet for increased investment on the outside—and that investment can come from the government, from foundations, or from some of our bio-pharma partners,” he said.
Daley said he will formally launch the grants program in January or February.
—Staff writer William L. Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @wlwang20.
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