Section 215.5602, Florida Statutes 2001
215.5602 Florida Biomedical Research Program.--
(1) There is established within the Department of Health the Florida Biomedical Research Program funded by the proceeds of the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund pursuant to s. 215.5601. The purpose of the Florida Biomedical Research Program is to provide an annual and perpetual source of funding in order to support research initiatives that address the health care problems of Floridians in the areas of tobacco-related cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease. The long-term goals of the program are to:
(a) Improve the health of Floridians by researching better prevention, diagnoses, and treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease.
(b) Expand the foundation of biomedical knowledge relating to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases related to tobacco use, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease.
(c) Improve the quality of the state's academic health centers by bringing the advances of biomedical research into the training of physicians and other health care providers.
(d) Increase the state's per capita funding for research by undertaking new initiatives in public health and biomedical research that will attract additional funding from outside the state.
(e) Stimulate economic activity in the state in areas related to biomedical research, such as the research and production of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices.
(2) Funds appropriated for the Florida Biomedical Research Program shall be used exclusively for the award of grants and fellowships as established in this section; for research relating to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases related to tobacco use, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease; and for expenses incurred in the administration of this section.
(3) There is created within the Department of Health the Biomedical Research Advisory Council.
(a) The council shall consist of nine members, including: the chief executive officer of the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society, or a designee; the chief executive officer of the Florida/Puerto Rico Affiliate of the American Heart Association, or a designee; and the chief executive officer of the American Lung Association of Florida, or a designee. The Governor shall appoint the remaining six members of the council, as follows:
1. Two members with expertise in the field of biomedical research.
2. One member with expertise in the field of behavioral or social research.
3. One member from a professional medical organization.
4. One member from a research university in the state.
5. One member representing the general population of the state.
In making his or her appointments, the Governor shall select primarily, but not exclusively, Floridians with biomedical and lay expertise in the general areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease. The Governor's appointments shall be for a 3-year term and shall reflect the diversity of the state's population. A council member appointed by the Governor may not serve more than two consecutive terms.
(b) The council shall adopt internal organizational procedures as necessary for its efficient organization.
(c) The department shall provide such staff, information, and other assistance as is reasonably necessary to assist the council in carrying out its responsibilities.
(d) Members of the council shall serve without compensation, but may receive reimbursement as provided in s. 112.061 for travel and other necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.
(4) The council shall advise the Secretary of Health as to the direction and scope of the biomedical research program. The responsibilities of the council may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Providing advice on program priorities and emphases.
(b) Providing advice on the overall program budget.
(c) Participating in periodic program evaluation.
(d) Assisting in the development of guidelines to ensure fairness, neutrality, and adherence to the principles of merit and quality in the conduct of the program.
(e) Assisting in the development of appropriate linkages to nonacademic entities, such as voluntary organizations, health care delivery institutions, industry, government agencies, and public officials.
(f) Developing criteria and standards for the award of research grants.
(g) Developing administrative procedures relating to solicitation, review, and award of research grants and fellowships, to ensure an impartial, high-quality peer review system.
(h) Developing and supervising research peer review panels.
(i) Reviewing reports of peer review panels and making recommendations for research grants and fellowships.
(j) Developing and providing oversight regarding mechanisms for the dissemination of research results.
(5)(a) Applications for biomedical research funding under the program may be submitted from any university or established research institute in the state. All qualified investigators in the state, regardless of institution affiliation, shall have equal access and opportunity to compete for the research funding.
(b) Grants and fellowships shall be awarded by the Secretary of Health, after consultation with the council, on the basis of scientific merit, as determined by an open competitive peer review process that ensures objectivity, consistency, and high quality. The following types of applications shall be considered for funding:
1. Investigator-initiated research grants.
2. Institutional research grants.
3. Predoctoral and postdoctoral research fellowships.
(6) To ensure that all proposals for research funding are appropriate and are evaluated fairly on the basis of scientific merit, the Secretary of Health, in consultation with the council, shall appoint a peer review panel of independent, scientifically qualified individuals to review the scientific content of each proposal and establish its scientific priority score. The priority scores shall be forwarded to the council and must be considered in determining which proposals shall be recommended for funding.
(7) The council and the peer review panel shall establish and follow rigorous guidelines for ethical conduct and adhere to a strict policy with regard to conflict of interest. A member of the council or panel may not participate in any discussion or decision with respect to a research proposal by any firm, entity, or agency with which the member is associated as a member of the governing body or as an employee, or with which the member has entered into a contractual arrangement. Meetings of the council and the peer review panels shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 119, s. 286.011, and s. 24, Art. I of the State Constitution.
(8) The department may contract on a competitive-bid basis with an appropriate entity to administer the program. Administrative expenses may not exceed 15 percent of the total funds available to the program in any given year.
(9) The department, after consultation with the council, may adopt rules as necessary to implement this section.
(10) The council shall submit an annual progress report on the state of biomedical research in this state to the Governor, the Secretary of Health, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by February 1. The report must include:
(a) A list of research projects supported by grants or fellowships awarded under the program.
(b) A list of recipients of program grants or fellowships.
(c) A list of publications in peer reviewed journals involving research supported by grants or fellowships awarded under the program.
(d) The total amount of biomedical research funding currently flowing into the state.
(e) New grants for biomedical research which were funded based on research supported by grants or fellowships awarded under the program.
(f) Progress in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases related to tobacco use, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease.
History.--s. 2, ch. 99-167; s. 4, ch. 2000-159; s. 2, ch. 2000-255; s. 5, ch. 2000-367; s. 4, ch. 2001-73.