Piper Trust commits $50 million to recruit world-renowned scientists to Arizona

January 18, 2006

By hammersmith

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has pledged $50 million to recruit to Arizona ten scientists who are leaders in the field of personalized medicine.

This represents Piper’s largest commitment since it began awarding grants five years ago.

“This initiative supports ongoing endeavors to propel Arizona’s bioscience industry to national prominence,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, president and chief executive officer of Piper. “We are part of a much larger collaborative effort that will have long-term impact on the region’s economy and directly benefit the residents of Maricopa County.”

Personalized medicine is being touted as the basis of a medical revolution. It allows doctors to develop individual strategies for the detection, treatment, and prevention of diseases based on a person’s genetic makeup.

The $50 million will be used to establish ten Piper chairs at institutions around the Valley. In order to promote collaboration, the gift requires that Piper chairs have joint appointments.

Of the $5 million each scientist would receive, $4 million will be allocated for the chair’s research, and $500,000 will be available to fund research done by undergraduates and graduates on the chair’s team. The remaining $500,000 will be used at the scientist’s discretion.

“Each chair will get $500,000 to spend how they wish and, we hope, the same prestige as the nationwide MacArthur chairs to recognize the stellar accomplishments of this research,” Mohraz told the Arizona Republic.

MacArthur Fellows receive $500,000 to spend without any stipulations.

The Trust will also establish an independent scientific advisory committee of national experts who will review the recommended appointments and provide advice throughout the process.

For more information:

$50 mil gift a ‘dazzling’ step to lure top minds,” Arizona Republic, 01/15/2006

Piper gift is a Valley milestone,” Arizona Republic, 01/15/2006

State at crossroads, foundation says,” Arizona Republic, 01/15/2006

6 years after death, Piper still giving financial boosts,” Arizona Republic, 01/15/2006