Morgan State University has been awarded a nearly $3-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support graduate-level research on climate change using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

With the five-year funding from NSF, Morgan State University will establish an NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program in Artificial Intelligence for Climate Change and Environmental SuStainability (ACCESS). 

According to the university, the new program will provide “hands-on training for the next generation of scientists and engineers researching artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions to wide-ranging climate change impacts.”

The ACCESS program at Morgan State University will train nearly 50 Ph.D. students including 25 trainees from various scientific fields including, bioenvironmental science, mathematics education, engineering, and computer science. One of the goals of the program is to provide trainees with vigorous investigative research and learning experience.

The trainees will work under the guidance of diverse faculty and postdoctoral instructors to solve real-world environmental challenges while also participating in professional development activities, according to the university.

Samendra Sherchan, Ph.D., associate professor of biology within the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (SCMNS) and executive director of the Center of Research Excellence in Wastewater-based Epidemiology and Center for Climate Change and Health at Morgan State University, serves as the principal investigator (PI).

“The NRT ACCESS program advances convergence research by training graduate students at the intersection of climate change, health, and AI,” said Dr. Sherchan. “This grant will allow our students the opportunity to continue expanding ambitious research projects while also developing the necessary skills to pursue a range of STEM careers.” 

Dr. Sherchan said although the program will be mostly research-focused, trainees will benefit from “advanced experimental courses, producing a mentored research thesis, participating in a series of professional leadership and ethics workshops, and a variety of internship opportunities.”

Since June 2020, Morgan has received 84 awards from the National Science Foundation for a total of $30 million in research grants.