University awarded $2M USDA grant for Center of Excellence
Delaware State University has been awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture that will help move its College of Agriculture, Sciences and Technology (CAST) to its next level of excellence.
The funding will go toward the establishment of a Center of Excellence in Emerging Technologies. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Cherese Winstead Casson, Dean of CAST.
The awarded DSU Center in Emerging Technologies will propel smart agriculture through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the cyber-physical cycle of farm management, building accessible resources to facilitate the use of internet of things (IoT) among the 1890 land grant institutions. This will lead to the training a multidisciplinary and diverse workforce in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and intricately linking agricultural emerging technologies with local underserved farmers and the agribusiness community.
The Center boasts an exemplary multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional framework (Florida A&M University, Alabama A&M State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Tuskegee University, NC A&T SU, Southern A&M University, South Carolina State University) highlighting partnerships with The University California Davis AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS) and University of Delaware Data Science Institute (DSI).
The team of investigators span complementary expertise and diverse research backgrounds intersecting agriculture, chemistry, engineering, computer science, materials science, and physics. Together, the Center manifests a resource hub for the development and application of novel data-driven smart technologies to address short- and long-term agricultural sustainability and productivity while minimizing impact on environmental resources.
The Co-Principal Investigators are Dr. Guinihal Ozbay, Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Dr. Hacene Boukari, Professor of Physics and Engineering; Dr. Marikis Alvarez, CAST Associate Dean of Research.
The USDA-funded Centers of Excellence (COE) harnesses the cumulative disciplinary strengths of the 1890 Universities System under the 2019 Farm Bill, while enhancing the competitive strengths that each member contributes to the 1890 Universities System.