CCNY receives $5M federal grant to increase research activity and doctoral graduations

The City College of New York is the recipient of a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to propel its advancement to the level of a doctoral university with very high research activity (R1), as defined by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, through the Translational Research Excellence Across Disciplines (TREAD) project.

CCNY is currently classified as R2, a doctoral university with high research activity. Starting in 2025, criteria for classification as an R1 institution will be spending $50 million on research, and awarding at least 70 doctorates, in any research field, in a year. The criteria for R2 classification are $5 million in research expenditures and 20 doctorates.

TREAD’s activities will include: building an ecosystem of support for Ph.D. student recruitment and success; fundraising to create sustainable fellowship programs; germinating translational research and training in partnership with industry and government; and developing a training and research program in convergence science.

TREAD will also include specific programming to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of the programs, in collaboration with faculty from the CCNY’s School of Education, examining a broad range of factors that impact student success. TREAD also has the support of collaborating institutions, including Google, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

CCNY currently graduates 20 to 25 doctoral candidates each year, said Rosemarie Wesson, who served as the project team’s principal investigator in her previous capacity as CCNY’s associate provost for research.

“This grant will enable us to recruit, retain and graduate Ph.D. students, particularly in the three areas of research excellence (green energy, cybersecurity, and nanobiotechnology) that will serve as organizing themes for the program,” said Wesson, who is now CUNY’s associate vice chancellor and university vice provost of research.

TREAD also proposed specific programming to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of the programs, in collaboration with faculty from CCNY’s School of Education. TREAD’s activities, including Converge to Translate workshops and grant competitions, will be open to all CCNY students and faculty starting in 2024.

In addition to Wesson, the project team consisted of: Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Elizabeth Biddinger and Associate Professor Electrical Engineering Ahmed Mohamed as co-principal investigators; Professor of Computer Science Rosario Gennaro, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Stephen O’Brien, and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Robert Messinger as research module leads; Professor of Childhood Education and Educational Theatre Jan Valle as education inclusivity director; and Assistant Director of Proposal Development Jackie Weissman as Converge to Translate competition manager.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. Education research organization Degree Choices ranks CCNY #1 nationally among universities for economic return on investment. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi (now Lightcast) puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. This year, CCNY launched its most expansive fundraising campaign, ever. The campaign, titled “Doing Remarkable Things Together” seeks to bring the College’s Foundation to more than $1 billion in total assets in support of the College mission. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Syd Steinhardt