News Release

CUNY CREST Institute awarded $900,000 by the NSF to expand educational and career pathways

Grant and Award Announcement

The City University of New York

The Bronx Community College Geospatial Center of the CUNY CREST Institute, hereafter BGCCCI, has received a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) grant to expand educational pathways leading to geospatial technology careers.

The principal investigator of this $900,000, three-year award is Dr. Sunil Bhaskaran, founding director of the BGCCCI and a full-time professor at Bronx Community College, and the Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Ratan Dhar an associate professor in earth and physical sciences at York College.

Geospatial technology is an emerging technology that facilitates location-based analysis of geographical data acquired from a wide array of sources, including sensors mounted on platforms such as satellites and aircraft. This technology has applications essential to most aspects of daily modern life. As a result, geospatial technologies have been growing at an exponential rate, leading to a high demand for skilled technicians. However, the geospatial industry is facing critical shortages of skilled labor.

Through their NSF-ATE grant, Drs. Bhaskaran and Dhar seek to heighten awareness about geospatial technology and its application to STEM, increase and diversify the number of young adults engaged in geomatics, and academically prepare them to enter into the field. Bronx Community College and York College are partnering to collaborate with industry officials and federal agencies to train participants in geospatial technology. The BGCCCI will develop workshops for middle, high school, 2-year and 4-year colleges; professional development workshops for educators; summer research-intensive workshops for undergraduates and graduates; and out-of-the-box internships for skilled geospatial technicians.

Bronx Community and York colleges are both minority-serving institutions with a diverse population of approximately 20,000 students and a mostly female enrollment, so the above activities will also recruit and train students from historically underrepresented groups to help diversify the workforce and create a stronger, more inclusive economy. This project will enhance technical education and provide pathways to careers in a high-technology field that is important to the nation's economy.


The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and additional professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students.

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