The National Institutes of Health has made a $21.2 million grant over five years to a group of four Detroit institutions of higher education.
The University of Detroit Mercy, Marygrove College, Wayne County Community College, and Wayne State University make up the consortium.
The goal of the NIH award is to encourage minority and low income students into biomedical research careers.
"This particular grant has an emphasis on increasing the number of biomedical scientists from under-represented groups by one third annually over the next ten years, " said Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi, president of University of Detroit Mercy.
Garibaldi said that each year less than 500 Ph.Ds in biomedical research are awarded to minorities nationwide.
The four Detroit educational institutions decided to collaborate because they offer different but complementary strengths in developing innovative foundational curriculum, research opportunities, and mentorship activities. Scholarship funds will also be available through the consortium's project called REBUILD Detroit, an acronym for Research Enhancement for Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity.
The four schools together enroll more than 47,000 undergraduates, more than half of whom are under-represented minorities or qualify for federal financial aid.
REBUILD Detroit's goals are to have at least 75 percent of its participants graduate with bachelor's degrees in biomedical sciences and 50 percent of those graduates enter doctoral programs in biomedical research.
"There are compelling reasons to promote diversity in biomedical research," said M. Roy Wilson, President of Wayne State University. "It's clear that diversity is fundamental to innovation. A variety of perspectives are critical to solve sciences' most complex problems, and the REBUILD Detroit project will train a more inclusive group of researchers and scientific leaders."
Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom