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Howard University Partners with Massive Data Institute and Morgan State University for Environmental Data Initiative

The cross-institutional team is developing an Environmental Impact Data Collaborative to support the use of data to make environmental policy more effective and just

Howard University students in classroom

WASHINGTON – Researchers at Howard University, Morgan State University and Georgetown University School of Public Policy’s Massive Data Institute (MDI) are partnering to develop the Environmental Impact Data Collaborative (EIDC), a data and computing infrastructure that will support community groups, policymakers and scholars in their efforts to effectively create environmental policies.  

The cross-institutional partnership will allow the EIDC to directly engage with communities most affected by environmental injustice and develop a diverse network of researchers and activists who can transform data into solutions that promote equity and combat climate change.  

“Howard University is thrilled to be a partner with Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and Morgan State University and Bezos Earth Fund on the very important issues of climate change,” said Barron Harvey, PhD, associate provost for academic innovation and strategic initiatives at Howard University. “Top Howard University faculty researchers are addressing the climate change areas of environmental justice, environmental quality health risks and pollution. This partnership and the support of Bezos Earth Fund will yield strategic recommendations and important policy recommendations that will benefit society now and into the future.” 

“We want to build a long-term, sustainable and inclusive infrastructure, and we could not do that without engaging data scientists at Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Michael Bailey, Colonel William J. Walsh Professor of American Government in Georgetown’s Department of Government and the McCourt School of Public Policy.  

“We are proud of the work our faculty, researchers and students have done, and the relationships we have built with faculty and researchers at Howard University and Morgan State University, the federal government and public interest advocates,” he said.  

MDI is working with 13 researchers at Howard University across five projects to analyze how environmental factors can have a disparate impact on disadvantaged communities, including projects focused on testing air quality in low-income households, connecting traffic pollution in marginalized populations and identifying environmental patterns in health outcomes in Washington, DC.  

Partners at Morgan State University are building on their research capacity in computer science to automate the ingestion and cleaning of data from new sources. Their work will also expand Morgan State students’ opportunities to complete research and policy work at the intersection of computer science and environmental policy. 

"Environmental justice needs collaboration from diverse groups,” said Paul Wang, PhD, professor and chair of computer science at Morgan State University. “The Georgetown, Howard and Morgan State partnership promotes the equity of all people and will make a huge impact toward a better environment." 

In December 2021, MDI received a $3.2M grant from the Bezos Earth Fund to further its research and impact in communities most at risk of environmental injustice. Launched in 2020, the Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs and private-sector entities that are taking critical action to combat the climate crisis, preserve and protect the natural world, and support climate justice. 

Learn more about the Environmental Impact Data Collaborative here. 

Media Contact: Brittany Bailer; brittany.bailer@howard.edu


About Howard University  

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu

Massive Data Institute 

The Massive Data Institute at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy is an interdisciplinary research institute that connects experts across computer science, data science, public health, public policy, and social science to tackle societal scale issues and impact public policy in ways that improve people’s lives through responsible evidence-based research. As a top-ranked public policy school located in Washington, DC, the McCourt School of Public Policy teaches students to design, analyze and put effective policies into practice in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. From the center of the policy world, the McCourt School connects with other leading institutions and organizations to tackle society’s most complex challenges — finding solutions that turn policy into impact. 

About Morgan 

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering more than 140 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu