FAMU School of the Environment receives nearly $15 million - NOAA makes official announcement at FAMU

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has been awarded a research grant totaling nearly $15 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to meet the agency’s workforce needs in the STEM areas — science, technology, mathematics and engineering. This is the largest single grant awarded in the history of the University. “One of the highest criteria used to determine the quality of a university is the amount of research taking place by faculty and the funding obtained for them to conduct research on a regular basis,” said former FAMU President James H. Ammons. “This announcement proves that Florida A&M University meets that standard of excellence.”

With 30 percent of the grant designated for scholarships, FAMU will partner with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Delaware State University, Jackson State University, University of Texas at Brownsville, and Creighton University as well as three National Estuarine Research Reserves, the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, and the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System. The grant will provide funds to support students as they pursue their research interest in environmental science from K-12 to the doctorate. “Our efforts will focus on under-represented minorities utilizing research as a vehicle to train students to develop skills relevant to the new economy,” said Michael Abazinge, professor of the School of the Environment who also serves as the principal investigator for the project.

The grant will support the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC) that will focus on the following goals:
“The magnitude of this environmentally-focused research and training award is critical to our region, nation and to the world, as this era of eco-friendly best practices governs us all in every area of our existence,” said K. Ken Redda,
Professor and Vice President for Research.

The ECSC was established in 2001 at FAMU through a competitively awarded cooperative agreement and a new five-year award was made to the team led by FAMU in 2006. Through these grants, this center has increased the number of scientists, particularly from under-represented minority groups in the environmental, coastal, and oceanic sciences. Of the 180 plus postsecondary student participants, the ECSC graduated 19 Ph.D. degree recipients, 41 master’s degree holders, and 56 bachelor’s degree recipients. Graduates of ECSC and the FAMU School of the Environment have a 100% placement rate. Eight are working as employees of NOAA, while others are employed by state or other governmental employees or as researchers in academic settings. “We’re committed to problem-solving and we welcome our undergraduate majors and graduate students from varied disciplines, including biology, chemistry, physics, math and other STEM areas to develop skills needed to address and resolve environmental issues,” said Charles H. Jagoe, distinguished professor in the School of the Environment.

This grant will also provide educational opportunities for students and teachers in the local K-12 school districts through summer workshops, brain bowl competitions and others enrichment activities. K-12 student participants will learn how environmental decisions impact the social and economic structure of their communities. The Environmental Sciences Institute (ESI) was established in 1995 and became the School of the Environment (SOE) 2011. It is one of several new innovative programs at Florida A&M University. The FAMU School of the Environment is a multidisciplinary unit that offers a wide range of services to students, governmental agencies, private sector companies, communities and other organizations.

The grant awarded to the School of the Environment is budgeted over the next five years, ending on June 30, 2016.