National Science Foundation Awards $1 million+ to Wayne State “MAJOR” Research

March 2, 2005

In Metro Detroit, with more than 200 jurisdictions, thousands of public and private entities and a key international border, the task of coordinating first responders is immense. To study and assist with this public need, the National Science Foundation has awarded the MAJOR Team (Multiple Agency and Jurisdiction Organized Response), a Wayne State University research team of faculty and graduate students, a research grant of $1.05 million to be used over the next five years effective immediately.

John Oliver, vice president for research, Wayne State University, said, "The award of the MAJOR Disaster Management research grant by the National Science Foundation is a clear recognition of the contribution that Wayne State can make to our nation's homeland security. With this $1.05 million award the Institute for Information Technology and Culture can establish itself as a leader in this important area of research."

The Institute for Information Technology and Culture (IITC), in partnership with four other departments at Wayne State University, comprise MAJOR. This interdisciplinary group consists of expertise from the fields of anthropology, computer science, education, communication, civil engineering and medicine.

To increase the effectiveness of disaster preparations, the MAJOR project will work with local response agencies to develop simulations and exercises based on an understanding of the requirements of coordination among multiple agencies and jurisdictions. The training tools and simulations that MAJOR will develop will become a significant resource for governments and private entities in Detroit and the nation. They will be used as both a training tool and a planning tool, to bring the highest level of preparedness possible for unexpected events.

IITC is a multidisciplinary group of medical and organizational anthropologists, psychologists, engineers, nurses, social workers, computer experts and doctors collaborating to understand the cultural aspects of technology use. For further information, regarding this project or IITC, please contact Dr. Allen W. Batteau, Director, 313.874.7010 or, or visit

Wayne State University is a premier institution offering more than 350 academic programs through 12 schools and colleges to more than 33,000 students.