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NOAA awards grants to NGI

HANCOCK COUNTY — Two federal grants worth more than $8.5 million have been awarded to expand the scope of the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI), a research collaborative led by Mississippi State University (MSU).

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) announced that a $4.49-million grant has been issued to the Mississippi State University Research and Technology Corp. to help construct a NGI facility at the Stennis Space Center. Awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the building will facilitate greater collaboration between NGI and NOAA on oceanographic and atmospheric research.

Another NOAA grant totaling more than $4 million was also awarded to manage the NGI and conduct research at MSU and its partner universities—the University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Florida State University and the Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory in Alabama.

NGI research, in part, looks at improving hurricane and river forecasts, mapping offshore fisheries habitat, understanding ecosystems, and increasing educational opportunities at all levels.

As a NOAA Cooperative Institute, NGI may use its new facility at the Stennis Space Center to expand its collaborations with such organizations as the National Data Buoy Center, National Marine Fisheries Service and National Weather Service.

In addition to the NGI grants, NOAA also approved a $3-million grant to MSU to continue its development of the Mississippi Digital Earth Model, a geographic information system to be comprised of seven base data layers.

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