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Maryland Commerce Supports Research Professorships at Eight Higher Education Institutions

Eight local colleges, universities raise matching funds to promote research and technology through Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative

Baltimore, MD (October 25, 2022) – The Maryland Department of Commerce joined eight local colleges and universities in endowing a total of $16.4 million to fund new research professorships. The endowments were made through the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI), a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the colleges and universities. The schools raised a total of more than $8.2 million in private funding and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants of $8.2 million to support the endowments.

Maryland is consistently one of the top-ranked states for innovation, and our colleges and universities are critical drivers of cutting-edge research and bold new ideas,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “We’re thrilled to support the groundbreaking and forward-thinking work being led by our higher education institutions.”

Hood College was awarded $500,000, matched by private donations, to fund a director of its new Biomedical Research and Training Center. The director will build and strengthen partnerships with the biomedical industry and other academic institutions. The director will also be responsible for program development and student recruitment as well as strengthening ties with the local and regional community, specifically the biomedical sector.

"We at Hood are thankful for these important funds to allow us to establish the executive director position for our future Biomedical Research and Training Center within the Hodson Science and Technology building,” said Hood President Andrea E. Chapdelaine. “With this new position, the College will be well positioned to positively impact biomedical/biomanufacturing workforce development in Maryland. Working in tandem with other campus constituents, the executive  director will strengthen and grow our partnerships with regional industry leaders, biomedical research organizations and other higher education institutions."

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing was awarded $1.8 million, matched by private donations, to establish a new Endowed Professorship of Disability Health and Justice. This professorship will develop innovative, evidence-based approaches that further the inclusion of people with disabilities into the workforce. This funding will support the entrepreneurial ventures of this professor through the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center, where cross-disciplinary experts test and collaborate on data-driven approaches to reduce disability inequities. Specifically, the role will develop novel tools that inform policies leveraging state-wide population-level equity indicators for the disability community, and will integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) and technology into new disability health tools. 

“We are thrilled to establish the Endowed Professorship of Disability Health and Justice in partnership with the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative,” said Johns Hopkins University Vice Provost for Research Denis Wirtz. “This investment will catalyze the development of new data-driven approaches and health tools to reduce disability inequities in order to shift the paradigm from living with a disability to thriving with a disability, as is the mission of our Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center. We remain deeply grateful to the Maryland Department of Commerce for this visionary program.” 

Morgan State University received $1 million, supported by $1 million in matching funds received from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, to establish a new Endowed Chair for the Center for Urban Health Equity. The award will be a boon to the center’s ability to recruit and attract the expertise necessary for growth and expansion of the center’s mission, which is to positively impact the root causes of urban health disparities through asset-based community-driven research and practice. The funds will support a new faculty member who has extensive experience in applied research of health equity and a passion for working with various communities.

“The continued support received from the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund bolsters Morgan’s status as an anchor institution and furthers our commitment to addressing the challenges within our community as a preeminent public urban research university,” said Morgan State University President David K. Wilson. “We are both excited about and appreciative of this opportunity to do more for Baltimore locally and the state of Maryland more broadly through the efforts of the Center for Urban Health Equity and will look to establish commonality with other endowed chairs already funded within the University.” 

Mount St. Mary’s University received a $200,000 award, matched by private donations, to support the Endowed Chair of its Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) graduate program. With the goal of expanding compassionate care to underserved local individuals with intellectual, developmental, and behavioral disabilities and disorders, the chair will lead the development of an Applied Behavioral Analysis Clinic intended to serve Northern Frederick County. The chair will also develop an undergraduate program to train registered behavioral technicians, who administer behavioral therapy.  

Mount St. Mary’s University is grateful to the Maryland Department of Commerce for its role in funding the Endowed Chair of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA),” said Mount St. Mary's President Timothy E. Trainor. “The ABA program started by Griffin Rooker, Ph.D., in 2021 is the fastest-growing graduate degree program at the Mount, and every day we hear about the urgent need for skilled behavior analysts in area schools and communities. This grant will help the university to continue its support of Dr. Rooker's important research and the university's establishment of an operational ABA behavioral health clinic to serve the rural communities of Northern Frederick County."

Notre Dame of Maryland University received a $1.5 million award to support the recently established Dr. Mary Kay Shartle Galotto ’64 Endowed Chair in the Biological Sciences to expand innovative research and scholarship in STEM. The grant matches $1.5 million in private funding to support a talented scientist to collaborate with NDMU undergraduate students and faculty on interdisciplinary research needed to solve complex global challenges. The position will also strengthen existing community partnerships and develop new ones to support the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan region’s growing bioscience and health industry.

“The $1.5 million matching grant from the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative will enhance NDMU’s leadership position in STEM and healthcare education, supporting the state’s goals to grow the pipeline of professionals for these in-demand fields,” said Dr. Marylou Yam, president of Notre Dame of Maryland University. “The grant helps NDMU to advance innovative research and scholarship by expanding opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning and research with expert faculty mentors.”

The University of Maryland, Baltimore was awarded $500,000, matched by a philanthropic gift from University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President and former Dean of the Graduate School Dr. Bruce Jarrell, to establish the Leslie S. Robinson, MD Endowed Professorship in Health Professions Education. Named in honor of a long-serving University of Maryland School of Medicine general internist, the endowed professor will teach in the Graduate School’s PhD and M.S. in Health Professions Education and play a pivotal role in addressing challenges of healthcare workforce shortages and improve capacity in Maryland. The goal of the endowed professorship will be to advance health professions educational research and scholarship internationally, increase enrollment of graduate research students, and establish the program as a preeminent contributor to health profession education design and innovation. 

“I'm pleased the Graduate School was afforded this opportunity by the Maryland Department of Commerce. In addition, I want to express deep appreciation for the generous match from our generous donor,” said Roger J. Ward, dean of the Graduate School at UMB. “Recruiting a renowned health professions educator and scholar into this endowed professorship will attract innovative partners and students alike. This endowed professorship will also play a pivotal role in addressing challenges of healthcare workforce shortages and improve capacity in Maryland. I can think of no better place for this focus than UMB.” 

The University of Maryland, College Park received a $1 million award to fully match a gift from IonQ, Inc. to establish an endowed professorship in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. This position will support a faculty member in either the Department of Physics or the Department of Computer Science who is focused on quantum computing research. 

IonQ is a revolutionary startup born out of physics research at the University of Maryland and the first publicly traded pure-play hardware and software company in the quantum computing space,” said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. “We are grateful to IonQ and the state of Maryland for their continued investment in research, programming and the overall quantum ecosystem at the University of Maryland. This is another step forward in building the Capital of Quantum.”

Washington College received $1 million, matched by private donations, to support the new Chair of Ethical Data Science, which will lead the college’s newly-established Data Science major and direct a new outreach-based, co-curricular program in Data Science called the Data Science Innovation Lab (DSIL). Dr. Kyle Wilson, a computer science and data science researcher, and current faculty member in the Math and Computer Science department, has been named as the inaugural Chair. In its first year, the DSIL will be supporting the Chesapeake Heartland Project's digital history collection in partnership with Washington College's Starr Center, conducting deep learning-based computer vision research, and establishing data science student internships with local organizations.

Maryland, perhaps more than any other state, realizes the transformative power of education as a tool for economic growth and community support,” said Washington College Provost and Dean Dr. Michael Harvey. “Washington College is thrilled to partner with the state’s Department of Commerce to help launch our new Data Science program. This investment in data science will help our students explore career opportunities in this vital field, and provide strong support for Maryland businesses seeking to tap the power of data science for economic growth.”

Washington College also received an E-Nnovation award of $782,825, matched by an equal private donation, to support the directorship of the Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory (FBBO). Operating on a rural parcel of land just outside of Chestertown since 1998, the FBBO is a major migratory bird banding station that focuses on monitoring seasonal movements of birds. It is the only major migratory bird banding station operating on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. FBBO has 92 mist nets spread over 55 acres and a rotating team that collects and bags over 15,000 birds annually. FBBO is part of the College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC), a living field lab that fosters environmental projects. 

The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative was created by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session and has provided $74.1 million in funding to leverage $80.7 million in private donations. The funding can be used to pay salaries of newly endowed department chairs, staff, and support personnel in designated scientific and technical fields of study; fund related research fellowships for graduate and undergraduate students; and purchase lab equipment and other basic infrastructure and equipment.