N.C. A&T Announces Record $147.4M Year in External Research and Program Funding

By Jamie Crockett and Todd Simmons / 08/18/2023 Research and Economic Development

Note: A graphic illustrating growth of the past four years is available here

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 18, 2023) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University faculty and staff secured $147.4 million in research and program funding in fiscal year 2023 – a $50 million jump over the previous year, Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. announced today at the university’s back-to-school gathering for faculty and staff.

External contracts and grants have increased by more than $85 million since FY2020 at North Carolina A&T, which is one of the University of North Carolina System’s top three most productive research universities.  

The new total “not only represents the first time that our faculty have won more than $100 million in external support, it amounts to astonishing growth of 138% over a four-year span,” Martin told more than 1,000 faculty and staff at this morning’s gathering. “Those grants fund significant scientific discovery and the pursuit of solutions that advance the human condition.”

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“Our dedicated faculty and their research teams continue to surpass goals and overachieve as we advance and develop as a high-impact research university,” said Eric R. Muth, Ph.D., vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development. “A&T today is a university increasingly well regarded for its research in areas ranging from autonomous vehicles to nanoscale materials to plant science. Our faculty and talented graduate and undergraduate students are making that possible through outstanding science.”

A&T faculty and staff secured 278 grants and contracts during FY2023. This includes a $24 million U.S. Department of Commerce grant to fund a model clean energy training initiative, and an $18.1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) that supports a “NEXTGEN” program to increase participation of underrepresented minority students in food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences disciplines. CAES also secured nearly $40 million in grant funding–almost a third of the university's total.

Select additional projects that received funding include: 

  • A five-year approximately $9 million Department of Defense Office of Naval Research grant led by Kaushik Roy, Ph.D., to “investigate how to create trustworthy, reconfigurable and secure artificial intelligence for cyber physical defense systems and diversify the artificial intelligence workforce.” Roy is chair of A&T’s highly regarded Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering (COE).
  • A U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development (DEVCOM) Soldier Center cooperative agreement established the Innovative Collaborative Laboratory for Nanotechnologies to Empower Future Soldier (ICONS) at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) last fall. Since then, JSNN Dean Sherine Obare, Ph.D., received an additional $250,000 from the NC Policy Collaboratory and $500,000 from the UNC System Office, in addition to Assistant Professor Kristen Dellinger, Ph.D., securing a $175,000 DEVCOM Soldier Center grant for projects that “will develop advanced nanoscale materials for soldier protection that promises to be lighter, faster, safer and stronger than ever before.”
  • A three-year $1.5 million NASA grant to establish an institute connected to the agency’s new Data Science Equity, Access, and Priority in Research and Education (DEAP) opportunity for historically Black colleges and universities. Associate Professor Leila Hashemi Beni, Ph.D., of the College of Science and Technology, will lead a team of researchers from A&T, Fayetteville State University and Elizabeth City State University to focus on “harnessing data science for flood monitoring and management.” The team will analyze open-source remote sensing (RS) data that can better prepare North Carolina citizens for flood events. They will analyze previous RS unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite data and geospatial data from past flooding events to first classify and identify the difference between permanent water levels and floodwater and develop cutting-edge methods and solutions to combine big data.
  • A $240,000 N.C. Department of Transportation grant awarded to Professor Ali Karimoddini, Ph.D., of COE, to assess infrastructure and required adjustments for safe operation of autonomous vehicles in rural areas. Karimoddini’s team publicly unveiled a rural test track for autonomous shuttles last fall, and next month will launch a one-month pilot program for autonomous shuttles between the A&T campus and downtown Greensboro.
  • A five-year $4 million National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases grant was awarded to support a collaboration across the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health and the North Carolina Diabetes Research Center. The funding “will help establish the North Carolina Consortium for Diversity Career Development in Nutrition, Obesity and Diabetes Research and provide career advancement for researchers from underrepresented minority group.” Elimelda Ongeri, Ph.D., professor and dean of the John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences, is leading A&T’s contributions to the project.

In addition to securing funding for these research and sponsored program activities, faculty members were awarded three patents in FY2023, raising to 66 the number of patents historically awarded for A&T research.

This growth comes on the heels of a newly released study conducted by Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics associate professors Cephas Naanwaab, Ph.D., and Alfredo Romero, Ph.D., that revealed A&T’s economic impact on the state totaled $2.4 billion for FY2022.

The analysis focused on six sectors, including research expenditures, and found that A&T spent approximately $73.1 million on research and development activities that included employing talent and purchasing equipment, supplies and services.

Media Contact Information: jicrockett@ncat.edu

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