U-M Awarded $20M Federal Grant for Great Lakes Research  


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The Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore in northern Michigan will be included in the institute's sustainability efforts.

Photo Courtesy: University of Michigan

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor announced a five-year, $20 million grant from the federal government to form a research institute focused on sustainable management of the Great Lakes. The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, which will be hosted by U-M and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), represents a partnership between nine universities across the region, as well as non-governmental organizations and private businesses. 

The institute’s primary NOAA research partner is the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, where researchers from the cooperative institute and the NOAA lab will work together to study issues affecting the Great Lakes, including weather, climate, invasive species, harmful algal blooms, and protection of ecosystem services.

The institute is one of 16 NOAA cooperative institutes nationwide. They involve 42 universities and research institutions in 23 states, and the institute will recruit, train, and retain qualified research scientists and staff to work alongside researchers in NOAA’s Ann Arbor lab. University partners in the consortium are Central Michigan University, Cornell University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Windsor, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The director of the new cooperative institute is a U-M ecologist Bradley Cardinale, a professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment. More than 30 researchers and hundreds of students are expected to be involved in the institute’s work. 

“The Great Lakes are so important,” says Cardinale, principal investigator on the grant proposal. “They are the source of drinking water for 40 million people and are intricately linked to the health, identity, and livelihoods of all who live in the Great Lakes basin.

“I am thrilled that NOAA has decided to fund a new institute that will bring together government agencies and universities, as well as private foundations and businesses that will work together to prioritize and lead the research needed to better manage the Great Lakes for its people.”

U-M is pledging $2.6 million to the institute, in total cost-sharing and in-kind support, over the five-year cooperative agreement. Other university partners are collectively committing $2.8 million of in-kind support. 

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