Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Ferris State University BulldogFerris State University Logo
Student using lab equipment

FY 2023 ORSP Annual Report

Message from the Director

decorative speedline border

Dear Ferris State Community:

I am pleased to offer this FY23 Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Annual Report. This year’s report highlights many students, staff and faculty that are moving innovation forward at Ferris!

Over the past year, the University has made strategic investments in key innovation areas such as:

  • Creation of a Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence, led by Dr. Kasey Thompson.
  • Creation of a Center for Advanced Battery Production and Testing, led by Dr. Yiqun Liu, funded in part by a $659,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Electric Vehicle and Mobility campaign.
  • Formation of a Faculty Senate Innovations Committee, chaired by Dr. Stephen Hundersmark, leading a new Innovation Incubator grant program and hosting the Annual Celebration of Scholarly Activity.
  • Faculty research grants awarded by the Faculty Senate Research Committee, chaired by Dr. Evan Watts.
  • Fostering student innovations at the Annual Celebration of Student Research and Creative Activities, where over 50 summer student fellows and co-authors presented their projects.
  • Grants awarded to the Shimadzu Core Lab, led by Dr. Sky Pike and Dr. Beth Zimmer, where students learn state-of-the art methods to detect COVID and E. Coli in water samples leading to environmental sustainability.
  • Intellectual Property developed by Dr. Daniel Taylor, Dean of MCO, leading to a new issued patent.

This work reflects significant growth stemming from the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan. During this time, Ferris State has been awarded nearly $22 Million in new grant funding, for an average of $4.4 Million per year, representing is a nearly 3-fold increase over the 5 years prior to implementing the strategic plan. In FY23 alone, there were 28 new grants awarded for $6.5 Million to 15 different Colleges and units across the University.

Our Institutional Review Board (IRB) continues to play a critical role in educating the campus community on research involving human subjects. These projects range from educational scholarship to medication usage and health outcomes research being carried out by our students and faculty. Under the leadership of the IRB Chair (Dr. David White) and Research Compliance Officer (Maureen Wawsczyk), with 126 new research projects involving nursing, pharmacy, education, and learning innovations being managed and approved by the IRB. These projects are often required as part of advanced, graduate-level, doctoral and master’s degree programs.

On behalf of the grants management team at Ferris, we look forward to helping you bring your innovative ideas forward over the next year!


THOMAS Dowling, Ph.d.

Director, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Key Impacts


New IRB Applications


Funded Projects


FY23 Funding

New Grant Highlights

Students and faculty posed around an EV

Talent Action Team Electric Vehicle and Mobility Grant

Project Direct: Dr. Rusty Leonard
Unit: College of Engineering Technology
Sponsor: Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Total Award: $659,504

The Ferris EV Grant will create a new Center for Applied Battery and Production testing to forge partnerships with key Michigan battery manufacturers, inform development of new EV certificate programs, and build West Michigan’s reputation for battery knowledge via applied research and industry partnerships. The grant will support Corporate Training Programs tailored to employers’ upskilling needs, delivery training to incumbent workers of TAT Core Employers, and will support engagement with K-12 programs to increase visibility of EV careers via visits to school campuses, increase K-12 student interest and ability in EV relevant skills via Ferris-hosted events.

Students posing with coloring pages and a book

Ferris State Early Learning Center

Project Director: Lori Johnson
Unit: Auxiliary Services
Sponsor: US Department of Education - CCAMPIS
Program Total Award: $2,040,000

This 4-year, Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant supports the existing campus-based childcare center, Ferris State University’s Early Learning Center (ELC). For over 34 years, the goals for the ELC have been to offer high quality educational programs to young children and their families while also serving as a “hands-on” lab site for Ferris State students preparing for a career as an educator of young children. The Ferris State grant project is designed to recruit CCAMPIS-eligible applicants, support their persistence, and decrease time to degree completion by improving outcomes for two generations of learners. The grant will provide subsidized childcare costs, leverage significant local and institutional resources, provide a sliding fee scale for Pell-eligible student parents, cross-agency coordination and community engagement, support for single parent students, increase in childcare access for infants and toddlers, wrap-around services to low-income parents, and address workforce shortages.

Rendering of the new building for the Jim Crow Museum

Jim Crow Museum Project Grant

Project Director: Dr. David Pilgrim
College/Unit: Diversity, Inclusion and Strategic Initiatives
Sponsor: Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
Total Award: $1,000,000

This MEDC Community Enhancement grant provides funding to support the costs of architectural design, site planning, construction and design, fabrication and installation of exhibits for the Jim Crow Museum Center. Ferris State University’s Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery serves as a critical resource in establishing the University’s commitment to diversity and educating students to be critical thinkers. Initially conceived as a learning laboratory to facilitate discussions about race, race relations, and racism it now offers strategies for collaboration and tolerance, bringing positive national and international attention to the University. The current 3,500 square foot facility was opened in 2012 within the FLITE library. As the Collection has grown, its power and significance has established the Museum as a vital cultural asset that has garnered national and global attention as an exemplary institution home to an irreplaceable collection. Unsolicited and anonymous gifts of objects documenting racism and Jim Crow-era injustices arrive at the Museum daily, ranging in size and significance from saltshakers to original photographs documenting the narrative of America’s civil rights movement. The mission of the Jim Crow Museum is to use objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice.

Students posing in a classroom

Innovative Simulations to Study Pressure Effects on Fundamental Gas-Phase Chemical Processes

Project Director: Dr. Luis Rivera
College/Unit: Arts, Sciences and Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Total Award: $200,000

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) grant program supports research by faculty members at predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUIs). RUI proposals support PUI faculty in research that engages them in their professional field(s), builds capacity for research at their home institution, and supports the integration of research and undergraduate education. This 3-year grant to Dr. Luis Rivera is awarded by NSF’s Division of Chemistry and supports his research in developing computational approaches to study pressure effects on gas-phase fundamental chemical dynamics processes. Professor Rivera and his students are applying canonical approaches to develop molecular dynamics simulations that are highly accurate, computationally inexpensive, and, more importantly, with broader applicability to condensed phase dynamics. Their studies could lead to a better understanding of fundamental chemical dynamics processes under extreme conditions of high pressure and temperature, which is otherwise a challenge to achieve by current theoretical and experimental methods. The insights gained from this project will take us a step closer to unifying models for gas and condensed-phase chemical processes. The outcomes of this work will give a fundamental understanding of the collisional energy transfer and chemical reactions where the isolated binary collision approximation breaks down. This project is a unique research opportunity for undergraduate students at Ferris State University. Research is an essential part of undergraduate education that provides growth, development, and training. The intended outreach activities with middle school students will prepare and inspire the next generation of young scholars and scientists.

FY23 OSRP Results

New Grant Funding FY19 - 23

Grant Funding by Unit FY23

Grant Funding by Unit FY19 - 23

FY23 IRB Results

New IRB Applications

IRB Actions