Ok, so it’s not specifically for Virtual Worlds, but the stimulus package does apparently include money for National Institute of Health grants that include scientific research involving virtual worlds…
from the NIH Challenge Grant website:
Funded projects would develop and implement virtual collaborative environments to facilitate biomedical and translational research, e.g. addressing issues of privacy, technology transfers and sharing resources.
There’s also talk of Facebook and Second Life style applications helping to “eliminate barriers to scientific collaboration.”