Medtronic funds faculty projects

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Medtronic Minimed recently approved the funding of five faculty research projects as part of a renegotiated educational partnership between the company and CSUN that was signed in October 2003.

The new deal addresses faculty research projects, the company’s internship program, scholarship funding, and a community outreach program.

“The original agreement (which was written in 2001 during the Medtronic/Minimed merger) did not have a lot of details,” said John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson. “It was loosely written, but the new agreement has all the components laid out in detailed terms.”

Deana McLaughlin, communications manager at Medtronic Minimed, said the renegotiated contract has added details that the first contract was missing.

“The faculty research projects will have a business objective with Medtronic Minimed,” McLaughlin said. “The partnership includes the projects, internships, scholarship money, a community outreach program, as well as (the) funding (of) seminars to allow our company’s representatives and CSUN researchers to foster interaction.”

Medtronic Minimed agreed to fund six faculty research projects over a five-year period beginning in October 2003. Medtronic Diabetes, which acquired the Minimed company in August 2001, does work in insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring. The Medtronic Minimed facility, located on Devonshire Street between Zelzah and Lindley avenues, signed a lease for property on North Campus.

Each of the faculty research projects will be funded for the duration of one year and will work on multiple projects at the same time during that period. Five of the eight proposals submitted by CSUN faculty members were approved for funding for the 2005-06 academic year, with between $25,000 and $43,000 allocated for each.

“The proposals were submitted from mid-to-late August of this year for approval,” said Mack Johnson, associate vice president for Graduate Studies, Research and International Programs. “We (the panel) took about two weeks to review the proposals and then make recommendations for revisions on two to three of the proposals.”

The panel is made up of five members: four CSUN faculty or staff members and one Medtronic Minimed staffer.

Johnson said the original date for approval was Oct. 1, however, since the approval process took longer than expected, faculty will receive funding to begin their projects next week.

“After making the approvals, we are now in the process of sending out the awards to the faculty,” Johnson said.

The faculty members that will receive funding are Eric Kelson, professor of chemistry; C.T. Lin, professor of mechanical engineering; Behzad Bavarian, professor of manufacturing system engineering; George Wang, professor of engineering; and Rabia Djellouli, professor of mathematics.

Medtronic Minimed also agreed to host five internships each year.

“This past summer semester, 13 CSUN students were interning at Medtronic Minimed,” Chandler said. “For the normal school year, there are currently 10 paid interns who are receiving school credits.”

Chandler said Medtronic Minimed has also set up an endowment fund that will be a continual source to fund qualified students with scholarships.

Medtronic Minimed agreed to create an endowment fund of $250,000 that will be established by 2008. Once the endowment has reached its designated capacity, the interest on the balance will fund the scholarships.

“Medtronic Minimed will fund scholarships for high achieving students in science and health (and engineering),” Chandler said. “The principal will never be touched.”

“The important thing is that they are not only a good tenant, but they are a sensitive and good neighbor and beneficial as an educational partner,” he said.

He said the Medtronic Minimed would fund a community outreach program at an estimated cost of $20,000.

Michael Sullivan can be reached at michael.sullivan.843@csun.edu.


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