Tennessee State University (TSU) is reporting continued record growth in the university’s research funding.

TSU’s external research funding is just over $70.2 million with four months remaining in the 2022-2023 submission cycle. To date, the university’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences and the College of Agriculture have received the largest single awards totaling $28.9 million.

“TSU’s continued high research output and funded awards are a true testament to the hard work and commitment of our faculty and staff, especially as we also focus our attention on moving from an R2 to R1, the highest research designation, under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning,” says TSU President Glenda Glover.

“A crucial cornerstone of an institution’s success is measured through its research and just as important is how that research will benefit our communities,” said Glover.

Tennessee families and global food security are among the top areas the research funding is focusing on.

The TSU Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences received a total of $18,958, 417 in federal and state funding for its work in funding childcare and family support programs in Tennessee. The Center was awarded nearly $5.3 million from the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start (ACF/OHS) to support Head Start and two Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership programs. In addition, just under $13.7 million came from the Tennessee Department of Human Services (HHS/TDHS) to support the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance and Tennessee Family Child Care Network. 

According to the Tennessee State University Newsroom, the funding will provide services to 256 children and families and employ approximately 115 staff needed across the state. 

“The Center is proud of the work we do to support children, families, and professionals within the early childhood community,” says COELS’ director Dr. Kimberly Smith.  “We remain focused on educating and uplifting the early childhood workforce in Tennessee and we remain committed to improving the lives of the families we serve.”  

Federal funding is also helping TSU make strides in the College of Agriculture.

Researchers in the College of Agriculture are using a $10 million capacity-building grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support 57 different projects in agricultural education, agricultural business, biotechnology, food science, animal science, environmental science, renewable energy, and human health and nutrition. 

The university is striving to receive the “R1” research designation, with the assistance of the new funding.

An R1 designation would help the university acquire more doctoral programs, research initiatives, and funding for students.  

Tennessee State University Newsroom reports that in the first half of this fiscal year, TSU research proposals garnered more than $68.8 million in external sponsored research funding and now stands at $70.2 million, which is on pace to surpass the record $70.7 million received in 2021. That record-setting year for the University was one of the highest among all HBCUs. 

Associate Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs Dr. Quincy Quick, says the goal is to double the total amount of grants received.

“Our recent historic research productivity and achievement over the last two fiscal years is a consequence of our outstanding and dedicated faculty and staff and their commitment to conducting and performing innovative and transformative high-level research,” says Quick. “Our faculty and staff are enthusiastically engaged in our mission for the highest status as we work collegially and diligently to become the fourth R1 designated institution in the state of Tennessee.”