Feds double grant for UM's Great Lakes research center to $53M

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded the University of Michigan a five-year, $53 million grant to continue and expand the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, which leads research for sustainability in the Great Lakes.

Scientists and students at the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research work alongside researchers at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor to find solutions to pressing Great Lakes issues, such as climate change, extreme weather events, invasive species, harmful algal blooms and ecosystem protection. The institute is hosted by U-M's School for Environment and Sustainability.

Over the next five years, a key focus for scientists and engineers at the institute and GLERL will be the further development of autonomous monitoring systems, stationary and mobile, for the Great Lakes.

Since 1989, NOAA has awarded eight consecutive multiyear cooperative agreements to UM to help the federal office at the institute. The latest grant more than doubles the funding level of the previous five-year period and is the largest sponsored award in the school's history.

"The renewal of our cooperative agreement will allow us to expand our research to meet key scientific challenges in the Great Lakes," said UM environmental microbiologist and Cooperative Institute Director Gregory Dick, a professor at the School for Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. 

Effective July 1, UM's renewal agreement of $3.6 million over five years to the Cooperative Institute triples its previous funding level.

Besides research, the institute also leads a regional consortium of universities and private-sector partners.

The renewal agreement adds Lake Superior State University as the 10th university in the regional consortium. LSSU, in the Upper Penninsula, will facilitate collaborations with the  U.S. Coast Guard National Center of Expertise for the Great Lakes, which will conduct research on the effects of and responses to oil spills.