NIST grant 'completely unrelated' to Gallagher hiring at Pitt

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Its director isn't the first thing the National Institute for Standards and Technology will give to the University of Pittsburgh.

Pitt received a $15 million NIST grant to build 27,000 square feet of nanoscience and physics labs where researchers could create new measurement technologies, develop telecommunication devices and study hurricanes.

Officials at both institutions say there was no quid pro quo. The grant was awarded three years ago, long before chancellor Mark Nordenberg had announced he would step down, and Pitt was one of a dozen schools to receive similar awards.

"It's completely unrelated," said David Chavern, executive vice president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a member of Pitt's Board of Trustees and a 1983 graduate in economics.

"The University of Pittsburgh has had a long history of attracting federal research dollars and its history of being a good research university far precedes any particular grant from NIST or any other federal agency," Mr. Chavern said.

Patrick D. Gallagher said he played no role in determining who would receive the grants.

"On grant programs, it's all merit-based, so I let the professional program managers and the grant managers handle that," he said. "That was an extremely competitive program, so hats off to Pitt for competing that well. For every winner there were probably seven to 10 losers."

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