Research Funding Surges to $64.26 Million at N.C. A&T, Second Consecutive Record Year

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (August 1, 2018) – Faculty researchers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University earned $64.26 million in contracts and grants in 2017-18, an increase of nearly $2 million over the previous year, school leaders revealed today.

The university has been on a steady trajectory of growth over the past two decades, adding nearly $46 million in annual research funding since 2001. Those contract and grant monies – which come largely from the highly competitive federal funding sector – support a wide range of projects in areas ranging from food security to bioenergy to computer science and many points in between.  

“Our faculty continued to demonstrate a high level of curiosity and innovation during the past year as they explored solutions to a variety of complex problems impacting society, creating new technologies, building new financial models, or developing new techniques to improve food production and safety or human health” said North Carolina A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.  “Our continued growth as a research university is a testament to their outstanding work.”

As a land-grant, doctoral university, N.C. A&T is one of 107 U.S. universities ranked as having “higher research activity” in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. That second-highest designation among research universities is determined by measuring the aggregate level of research activity and the amount of activity divided by the number of full-time faculty.  

A&T is one of the state’s three most productive public research campuses, along with North Carolina State and UNC-Chapel Hill.

Researchers across the university’s eight colleges and its Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering made significant contributions to the university’s record year, among them:

  • Lauren Davis, Ph.D., College of Engineering. Davis’s “Improving Strategies for Hunger Relief and Food Security through Computational Data Science” project was awarded $3 million from the National Science Foundation. The study will develop a better understanding of food supply, distribution and need issues and an innovative, interdisciplinary training model in data science to help grow the workforce to meet those needs. 
  • Shengmin Sang, Ph.D., College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Center for Post-Harvest Technologies. Sang’sNutrimetabolomics Approach to Identify the Biomarkers of Whole Grain Intake” project was awarded $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The research will identify novel bioactive natural products that can be used in functional foods and dietary supplements to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
  • Abolghasem Shahbazi, Ph.D., College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences. Shabazi’s CREST Center for BioEnergy received $2.1 million from NSF. The center aims to make biomass a more viable source of renewable energy, conducting fundamental research toward the development of advanced thermochemical biomass conversion technology for the efficient, economic production of liquid transportation fuels and hydrogen.
  • Sameer Hamoush, Ph.D., College of Engineering. Hamoush’sPipeline Development of Skilled Workforce through Research in Advanced Manufacturing” project was awarded $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. The funds will be used to fabricate metal test parts and determine material properties using a metal 3D printing machine, train students in the use of 3D printing, collaborate with other research hubs on fabrication and metal properties and develop a workforce pipeline by offering outreach and education workshops targeting secondary education students.
  • Maranda McBride, Ph.D., College of Business and Economics. McBride is director of the Transportation Institute and was awarded $1.4 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The institute educates students and professionals from diverse populations to provide qualified transportation professionals in the workforce. Institute activities are designed to provide ongoing initiatives in the areas of education, research, and workforce development. It serves as a national, regional and local clearinghouse for transportation education, research and outreach.