Jackson State has announced it will share a $20 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) with research universities in Mississippi to spur discovery in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The grant will also fund K-14 outreach efforts aimed at creating a stronger, more diverse pipeline of STEM students.

The NSF grant comes through the EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) program, which enhances the research competitiveness of state governments by strengthening STEM capacity and capability.

With the grant funding, the state of Mississippi will establish the Center for Emergent Molecular Optoelectronics, a program vital to the advancement of technology, electronics, and biomedicine.

“Jackson State is elated to be a partner of this groundbreaking venture for the state of Mississippi and Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Dr. William Bynum, president of Jackson State in a statement. “It is my hope that we continue to expand on these opportunities to enhance educational opportunities for our students.”

Mississippi State University will serve as the project’s administrative lead, and the University of Southern Mississippi will serve as the science lead.

Along with Mississippi State University and USM, Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi will be a part of the new center focused on optoelectronic, energy and biotechnology research fields.

The new center will benefit from connections to laboratories, NSF Top 100 research universities, state development officials and representatives from industry.

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