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Morgan State University receives a record 13 patent awards as it pushes for R1 status

The Maryland HBCU is on a research tear, with six new centers launched in the past six years.

Morgan State University. ( McCray)

This story is a part of’s Future Research Month. See the full 2024 editorial calendar.

More new technology is coming out of Morgan State University than ever before. The Maryland school followed up last year’s record number of patent awards with a strong start this year.

After the school’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) notched 13 patents in 2023 — the highest among all HBCUs — it already has three during the first two months of 2024.

That’s no fluke. With the February launch of its Center for Urban and Coastal Climate Science Research, the university has opened six new research centers in as many years. Each center has received some state funding.

“There’s so many kinds of research projects,” Gabriella Waters, director of operations at the university’s Center for Equitable AI and Machine Learning Systems (CEAMLS), told She noted that institutions like Johns Hopkins commonly collaborate with Morgan on research initiatives, even when not widely publicized.

The university is now ten toes down in pursuit of becoming the nation’s first public R1 HBCU, with a goal of getting the status by 2030, according to its strategic plan. The designation can bring big dollars in federal funding, among other benefits.

MSU currently maintains its classification as an R2 research institution, as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and in 2017 was officially designated Maryland’s preeminent public urban research university by the General Assembly.

Some current Morgan State research projects include looking at ethical implications of AI in social work; approaches for sustainable shellfish aquaculture; deployment of LIDAR for improved highway safety; and better communication between “internet of things” home devices.

Overall, Morgan has been issued 32 utility patents, most supported by its Division of Research and Economic Development, which has long been a resource for faculty, staff, and students in navigating their research endeavors. As part of that division, the OTT assists with patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, and IP management.

Check out all of Morgan State University’s US patents

“It’s truly remarkable to witness the accumulative impact of Morgan’s research activity and technical development,” said Willie E. May, vice president of research and economic development at Morgan, “resulting in the record number of patent awards we’ve received.”

Companies: Morgan State University
Series: Future Research Month 2024

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