NSF Funding to Support Research Equity in Kentucky

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Kentucky Commercialization Ventures (KCV) has secured $8.25 million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) — through its nationwide Growing Research Access for National Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) program – to bolster research infrastructure at underrepresented higher education institutions. 

Using the funds, KCV has launched Granting Emerging and Developing Institutions a Competitive EDGE (Equitable and Diverse Grant Ecosystem) program, or KCV EDGE, which will work to rectify disparities in research funding access. The program will extend comprehensive support for research grant administration to partnering institutions, including the historically Black Kentucky State University (KSU), Northern Kentucky University, and Morehead State University. 

“The GRANTED award is exactly the type of investment in our HBCU that we have been advocating for locally and nationally,” KSU President Koffi Akakpo said in a press release. “It will significantly impact KSU’s capacity to compete for research grants and expand our involvement in the research enterprise.”

The schools involved in KCV EDGE will receive extensive support in the form of grant proposal composition, administration, compliance, technology commercialization, and leadership training. These efforts will primarily come about through collaborations with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the University of Louisville, and the University of Kentucky. 

More than $5 million of the allocated grant funding will also be used as subawards to build out the partner institutions research infrastructure capacity. 

“National academic research opportunities abound, but many higher education institutions are faced with inequitable access to funding,” KCV Executive Director Kayla Meisner said in the release. “We designed KCV EDGE to dismantle these barriers and give our regional, rural, minority-serving, and community and technical institutions a competitive advantage when pursuing federal research grants. Through their success, we can transform research infrastructure in the commonwealth and beyond.” 

The KCV EDGE Program is slated for a five-year duration with the ultimate goal of establishing sustainable research infrastructure at historically underserved institutions.