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Fraunhofer to receive $15 million in state and private funding

Deleware News Journal

Ten million dollars will come from Fraunhofer's German-based parent organization, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Five million was included in the state budget Gov. Ruth Ann Minner signed last month.

"With the continued help, I can assure you we will continue growing," Vidadi Yusibov, Fraunhofer's executive director, told state lawmakers at a tour and luncheon he hosted for them at the center on Thursday.

The money will be used to develop a prototype plant to produce small quantities of the vaccines, fund human clinical vaccine trials, hire additional workers and add additional space, Yusibov said.

The center, which has 40 employees, could add as many as 10 more next year, Yusibov said. Those employees, who include plant biologists and immunologists, make an average of $70,000 a year.

Lawmakers who toured the facility, located at the Delaware Technology Park, said the state funding is a good investment for Delaware, because it will bring more high-wage jobs.

The state and Fraunhofer-Gesselschaft each contributed $3.6 million to start the center, which opened in 2001. Since then, the center has attracted more than $19 million in grants, from such organizations as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the federal government.

"It has the promise of so many good things for the people who work here and for the people who will benefit from the research that goes on here," said State Rep. Stephanie Ulbrich (R-Newark South).