Campus research granted millions

The Florida A&M University faculty has been awarded over $26 million for research.

“Sponsored research is funded primarily by federal government, state agencies and private organizations,” said Keith Jackson, vice president of the Division of Research.

“We call our researchers principle investigators and their research is funded by grants,” agreed Pamela Bryant, public relations coordinator for the Division of Research.

Faculty members secured the money for research through competitive application processes. The money is not sent to the Division of Research to allocate but instead, an account is created for the faculty member conducting the research. All expenses for the research project are charged to the account, and the Division of Research bills the agency sponsoring the project.

The primary focus of the Division of Research is sponsored research and ensuring that FAMU gets reimbursed for conducted research, Jackson clarified.

Though there is “no fixed amount of (research) done in a year,” faculty and students have been using the awarded funds to actively conduct ongoing research during the school year.

Some of the research projects include finding lightweight, cooler and protective gear for troops to wear on the battlefields, and developing laser-based techniques that would allow the detection of stress on crops over large areas very quickly.

Other research projects, such as those related to prostate cancer and plasma focus on issues and concerns that affect the black community.

“Faculty members tend to focus on those issues just like people of all races tend to do,” Jackson said.

What FAMU provides is an entity for research to occur that will affect and benefit the race in the long run.

“The value of research done at HBCUs is important because HBCUs study things that majority universities wouldn’t study or care about,” Jackson said.

Research done for the military affects the black community just the same that research for prostate cancer and plasma does because of the large number of African-Americans enlisted.

“As soon as it gets too warm they pull off their safety equipment,” Jackson said.

“The helmets, which can block an AK-47 round, are the first to go.”

This year FAMU’s Division of Research announced FAMU’s continued success in being sought out for excellence in research.

According to press releases from the division, “FAMU leads the Florida State University System Consortium in the nation’s fifth Homeland Security Center of Excellence.”

“Dr. Phills and the entire FAMU viticulture research team have outstanding credentials,” said Stanley Scarborough, vice president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and production manager of Sunny Ridge Farm, Inc.

“They are looking to solve answers for smaller fruit growers, and as such, FAMU was the best institution to undertake this challenge,” he said in a division press release.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be looking to FAMU for studies conducted on “infrastructure integrity, surge capacity, the interaction of networks and the need for models and simulations” while the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association will look to FAMU to develop a formula for the commercial growth of raspberries in the climate of the south.

Research is taking place in the area of the sciences as well as other areas of study at FAMU.

“Research is done in the liberal arts as well as in the sciences,” Bryant said.

The process for funding of liberal arts research is the same as that for science research.

However, the amount of financial resources is not as large for liberal arts research as it is for science research.

“Historically scientific research has been more popular, and liberal arts has lagged behind,” Jackson said. “The awards for the arts are much smaller.”

Contact Constance Rush at