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Morgan State push for top research status gets boost from Gov.-elect Moore

Morgan State University’s Center for Data Analytics and Sports Gaming Research, launched in 2022, will conduct research into sports gaming and esports to develop insights into how to help underserved communities. (Morgan St. University photo)

Morgan State University’s Center for Data Analytics and Sports Gaming Research, launched in 2022, will conduct research into sports gaming and esports to develop insights into how to help underserved communities. (Morgan St. University photo)

Morgan State University’s drive to achieve status as a top research institution has kicked into high gear with the creation of five new critical research centers, state funding of $11 million annually and now a pledge from Gov.-elect Wes Moore to help it become the nation’s first historically Black college or university to earn the designation.

The launch of three centers in 2022 – the Center for Equitable Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Systems (CEAMLS), the Center for Data Analytics and Sports Gaming Research and the Center for Urban Violence and Crime Reduction – was designed to strengthen the university’s position as an anchor institution to address a variety of urban concerns in a research environment.

The project advances two of the university’s 10-year strategic plan goals, including the elevation of Morgan’s status to an R1, a Carnegie Foundation classification of doctoral research university with very high research activity. It is currently classified as a high research (R2) institution, which enables the university to access additional grants and funding streams. It also increases the likelihood of winning larger and more complex research projects.

Between the five new centers, the university will hire 44 full-time tenured or tenured track faculty members.

“We commend the state’s commitment to funding research-based solutions for a variety of societal challenges, by way of continued investment in Morgan. That investment has enabled us to strategically leverage our expertise to effect positive change and launch multiple centers dedicated to the critical examination of some of the foremost issues of our time,” Morgan President David K. Wilson said. “We appreciate the level of support the University has received under Gov. (Larry) Hogan’s administration and look forward to a continuation of investment from the incoming governor, Wes Moore. Morgan’s progress makes for a stronger Maryland.”

Moore said he plans to direct additional resources to the university in order to not only create new opportunities for Black students now, but also to make Maryland more competitive for business, job and talent recruitment. He called this push a key priority of his administration.

A study by the university found it generates more than $1 billion in economic impact to the state each year and more than $600 million for Baltimore alone. The university estimates this impact would be doubled with an R1 status. The state’s current R1 institutions include Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Morgan was designated as Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University in 2017, giving the institution a specific mission to serve the state’s urban population through instruction, research and service.

Morgan has since launched five new critical research centers with state funding of more than $11 million annually through the passage of SB 1085 in the Maryland legislature. The three centers added in 2022 joined the Cybersecurity Assurance and Policy (CAP) Center, started in 2018, and the Center for Urban Health Equity (CUHE), which began in 2021.

Morgan’s five most recent centers join two others that were launched before Morgan received its urban research designation. The Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory (PEARL) was established in 2004, and the Institute for Urban Research was established in 1978.

Eyeing the future, Morgan is cultivating funding sources to launch more centers. Among the next targeted are the National Center for the Elimination of Educational Disparities, the Center for Education and Research in Microelectronics, the Center on Brain Science, and the Center for the Preservation and Advancement of Democracy.