CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia State University will receive more than $1.6 million in federal research grants from the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
"This is great news and speaks volumes to the fact that we have talented research and teaching faculty at the university," said Orlando McMeans, vice president for Research and Public Service.
WVSU was awarded $1.63 million out of $18 million available in federal funding, the largest amount the school has received in one funding cycle from the grant program.
WVSU is one of 18 land-grant institutions in the nation eligible to compete in the program. "To be one of the smallest and youngest research programs in the 1890 land-grant family, WVSU receiving nearly the maximum amount of allotted funding is amazing," said Robert Barney, associate dean and associate director of research at WVSU.
The grant funds will support seven proposed research projects, which will focus on improving agriculture production in West Virginia and teaching grants.
The projects will look at ways to produce disease resistance in tomatoes and melons, how to understand reproductive barriers to improve cultivated tomatoes, and studying the health benefits of squash and pumpkins.
The grant also funds teaching initiatives that will teach college students about the global impacts in agriculture, and a project to recruit high school students into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.