NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Jan. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science has received $2.5 million in expendable funding through federal new markets tax credits to support the development of its Innovation and Research Park, which will create an estimated 500 direct and related jobs and a total economic regional impact of $117 million per year.
RFU also intends to use a portion of these funds for community initiatives, including the development of bioscience-related job training and internship opportunities, an expansion of its efforts to provide health services to the uninsured, and mentoring and educational pathways for underserved students.
"This funding will help us discover and deliver new treatments and cures across the nation and the globe," said RFU Interim President Dr. Wendy Rheault. "But its most visible and immediate impact will be in our own backyard, as we reach deeper into our community to offer opportunities that will improve the health of our people and local economies."
Now under construction on the university's campus at 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL, the $50 million, four-story Innovation and Research Park will feature state-of-the-art laboratories and meeting and office space designed for collaboration among academic and industry scientists with the goal of accelerating the university's research into treatment and prevention of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer's, cancer and diabetes. The building will also offer spaces for lease to life science companies as a means to enhancing interactions and collaborations with innovators and to encourage the sharing of knowledge and exchange of ideas.
The New Markets Tax Credit Program enacted by Congress in 2000 allows private investors to earn tax credits against their federal income tax in exchange for investments in low-income communities. Both North Chicago and Waukegan are federally-designated medically underserved areas, with high rates of uninsured residents and chronic, preventable diseases.
RFU is pursuing numerous strategies to eliminate such health disparities, including the education of a more diverse healthcare workforce and a focus on population health. The university is a founder and lead partner of the Health Professions Education Consortium, which works to expand opportunities in medical and health sciences education and careers by partnering with regional schools, businesses, nonprofits and government to improve the college and workforce readiness of local residents. It also operates the Community Care Connection free health screening mobile health coach, the Interprofessional Community Clinic for the uninsured, and collaborates with the Lake County Opioid Partnership.
The university and its development partners envision a research park that will spur economic growth and development for North Chicago and Waukegan while serving as a hub for the bio-startup ecosystem in Lake County, which is home to the largest concentration of bioscience companies in the Midwest.
"We're gratified and energized by the strong support we've received from our local, state and federal elected officials and industry and community partners," said RFU Executive Vice President for Research Dr. Ronald Kaplan. "Working together, we're placing the research park on solid financial footing so that it can benefit our university, our communities and our region for generations to come.
"We're true to our mission in recognizing that we can't move the university forward and leave our community behind."
Slated for completion in late summer 2019, the Innovation and Research Park is a public/private partnership between the university, the City of North Chicago, Lake County, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and developer not-for-profit TUFF, The University Financing Foundation.
RFU will deploy funds from NMTC investments made by two community development entities: SunTrust Community Capital LLC and Urban Research Park LLC. The university will also attract investment through economic incentives as part of the Waukegan-North Chicago Enterprise Zone, a state program designed to stimulate economic growth and community revitalization at the local level.
"Leveraging diverse capital sources is one of the many ways TUFF brings value to our university partners," said TUFF President Kevin Byrne. "Rosalind Franklin University's receipt of new markets tax credits is an important achievement. It speaks to the excellence of their plan for the Innovation and Research Park, their ability to meet the NMTC's stringent eligibility requirements and their strong commitment to their community."
About Rosalind Franklin University
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is committed to serving the population through the interprofessional education of health and biomedical professionals and the discovery of knowledge dedicated to improving wellness. Founded in Chicago in 1912, RFU embodies the spirit of inquiry and excellence modeled by its namesake Dr. Rosalind Franklin, the first scientist to capture images of DNA. Recognized for its research in areas including neuroscience, brain-related diseases, inherited disorders, diabetes, obesity, and gait and balance, the university encompasses the Chicago Medical School, College of Health Professions, College of Pharmacy, School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. Learn more at www.rosalindfranklin.edu.
The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) operating foundation that assists institutions of education and research in the planning, development, and financing of facilities and equipment at below-market costs. Learn more at www.tuff.org.
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