National Science Foundation Grants Over $15M to Expand Research at HBCUs, HSIs

The National Science Foundation is awarding $14 million to the Atlanta University Center and $1.9 million to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
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Published on February 29, 2024
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  • The grants are part of the National Science Foundation's Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) initiative.
  • The Atlanta University Center will be a research hub to promote equity and serve as a research model for historically Black colleges and universities.
  • The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities will create an institute to promote resource sharing and expertise, equip researchers, support pilot research strategies, and expand infrastructure.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is investing millions into research at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs).

On Feb. 21, NSF announced a $20 million investment through the Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) initiative to eight institutions, including three HBCUs, one historically Black medical school, and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

"These projects underscore our dedication to empowering institutions, fostering inclusivity, and propelling the entire research ecosystem toward greater heights of excellence," NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a press release.

NSF awarded $14 million of the investment to the Atlanta University Center (AUC). AUC-GRANTED will be a collaboration project between the AUC's Spelman College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University.

The AUC will establish a research hub to promote equity and serve as a model for other HBCUs and emerging research institutions.

"The NSF funding will have a significant and long-lasting impact on strengthening the research support infrastructure within the AUC. It will provide the opportunity to advance knowledge and thought leadership and spur innovation and entrepreneurship. It will also enable Spelman and the collaborating AUC institutions to increase their role in the growth of the state's economy," Spelman College President Helene Gayle said in a press release.

NSF granted HACU $1.9 million to fund the Visioning, Organizing, Leading, and Advancing the Research Enterprise at HSIs Institute (VOLARÉ Institute) to establish research capacity-building institutes for HSIs.

HACU is a national association representing over 500 colleges and universities in the U.S., Latin America, and Spain.

The VOLARÉ Institute will work to:

  • Create a cooperative HSI community to share resources and expertise
  • Offer professional development, mentoring, and coaching to help the institutions pilot research strategies and sustain and expand expertise and infrastructure

"The VOLARÉ Institute will allow us to foster a more inclusive national research community as it captures the essence of reaching new heights in HSI research capacity and output," HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores said in a press release. VOLARÉ means "I will fly" in Spanish.

Since President Joe Biden took office, the federal government has awarded over $7.3 billion to HBCUs and over $18 billion to minority-serving institutions.

In December, the Biden administration awarded $93 million to 20 institutions serving historically excluded students to improve research and development and student completion rates.

A few months earlier, the Department of Education granted $100 million to HBCUs, tribal colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions to build research facilities, create new research opportunities for undergraduate students, improve faculty and graduate student expertise and diversity, and gain external partner funding.