HU Receives $4.9M from U.S. Department of Education to Establish an Interdisciplinary Climate Science Degree Program

Hampton, Va. (January 11, 2024) –The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Hampton University a $4.9M grant to establish an interdisciplinary climate science degree program, embedded in a National Center for Climate Modeling Research, and to propel the university to R2 status.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s press release, the grants are being provided under the Research and Development Infrastructure (RDI) program and the Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) program. The RDI program provides funds to HBCUs, TCCUs, and MSIs to transform their research infrastructure, including strengthening research productivity, faculty expertise, physical infrastructure, and partnerships leading to increases in external funding. The PSSG program aims to equitably improve postsecondary student outcomes, including retention, transfer, credit accumulation, and completion, by leveraging data and implementing, scaling, and rigorously evaluating evidence-based approaches.

“The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the urgency of this moment in higher education and that creating opportunities for students of color and other underserved students to succeed in today’s most cutting-edge fields has never mattered more,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a press release.

This transformative funding is designated to propel Hampton University to R2 status through the establishment of an innovative interdisciplinary climate science degree program.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the U.S. Department of Education, enabling us to make significant strides in climate science education and research,” said HU President Darrell K. Williams. “This funding will empower us to establish a world-class program that integrates diverse perspectives and disciplines to address the challenges posed by climate change. While aligning with our strategic plan and mission of providing innovative doctoral programs in the STEM field, fostering the next generation of leaders in climate research.”

The Interdisciplinary Climate Science Degree Program will bring together experts from various fields, fostering collaboration between meteorologists, environmental scientists, data analysts, and more. Students enrolled in the program will gain hands-on experience through the National Center for Climate Modeling Research, contributing to cutting-edge research and addressing pressing climate issues.

“I am ecstatic to have received federal funding to build the research infrastructure necessary to support an interdisciplinary climate sciences doctoral program,” said Neelam Azad, Ph.D., vice president for Research and one of the senior administrative personnel on the grant. “This will build competency in a field of study that directly impacts not just our lives but of future generations as well, while broadening participation of individuals who have been historically marginalized in the STEM fields.”

The principal investigator (PI) on the project is William Moore, Ph.D., and the co-PIs are Ruben Delgado, Ph.D. and Stephen Guimond, Ph.D. from the Department of Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, along with co-PI Jeanette Davis, Ph.D., from the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences, all within the School of Science.

 “Hampton has long been a renowned leader in the field of climate research, since launching satellites to study the weather in the early 2000’s,” said Isi Ero-Johnson, Ph.D., dean, School of Science. “This DOE grant will further solidify Hampton as a premier institution in atmospheric and environmental sciences with the development of the National Center for Climate Modeling Research.”