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UMBC ranks second among U.S. universities in NASA funding, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The university’s NASA-funded centers are the Joint Centers for Earth Systems Technology, the Joint Center for Astrophysics, Goddard Earth Systems and Technology Center and the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology.

According to Thomson Scientific’s Science Watch, UMBC’s geoscience research ranked third nationally in citation impact for 2001-2005. The only other U.S. universities producing more frequently cited geoscience research papers were Harvard University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

UMBC and IBM have created The Multicore Computing Center (MC2), a unique facility on campus that focuses on supercomputing research related to aerospace/defense, financial services, medical imaging and weather/climate change prediction. IBM awarded UMBC a significant gift to support the development of this new center, which researchers describe as an “orchestra” of one of the world’s most powerful supercomputing chips.

UMBC is part of multimillion-dollar National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center based at Princeton University that is expected to revolutionize sensor technology, yielding supersensitive devices that can detect minute amounts of chemicals found in the atmosphere, emitted from factories or exhaled in human breath. The goal of the center – named MIRTHE (Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment) is to produce devices that are so low in cost and easy to use that they transform the way physicians monitor patients, states track air quality, governments guard against terror attacks and scientists understand the evolution of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The National Science Foundation awarded UMBC a $2.9 million grant to establish an innovative interdisciplinary doctoral training program in “Water in the Urban Environment.” The award places UMBC among the most visible universities carrying out high-level research and doctoral training in urban environmental issues.

U.S. Geological Survey’s Maryland-Delaware-Washington, D.C. Water Science Center at bwtech@UMBC, the University’s on-campus research and technology park. The USGS center employs over 60 scientists and support staff, who work collaboratively with UMBC and U.S. Forest Service scientists who monitor the ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the health of the region’s water supply, rivers and streams.

UMBC is a charter principal institution in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, one of 24 research programs established by the National Science Foundation to study ecological systems over long time periods.

Three UMBC faculty members serve on the Maryland Commission on Climate Change: Raymond Hoff, professor of physics; Andrew Miller, associate professor of geography and environmental systems; and Claire Welty, director, Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education.