The Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a total of $40 million to four major universities and minority-serving institutions to establish new research centers of excellence as part of its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-serving Institutions (HBCU/MI) Research and Education Program.

According to the department, the four awardees will enhance research programs and capabilities in critical scientific and engineering disciplines while expanding HBCUs and minority-serving institutions’ capacity to participate in DoD research programs and activities.

DoD also intends for the awards to help increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, including those from under-represented minorities, which it said is “critically important to the Department‘s mission.”

“These [centers of excellence] will boost the Department’s ability to conduct transformative research in areas that are vital to safeguarding national security. We look forward to them contributing stimulating ideas and innovations that could lead to the development of novel technologies and methodologies,” DoD HBCU/MI Program and Outreach Director Evelyn Kent said in a statement.

The awardees and their academic partners will conduct research over a five-year period in technology areas critical to the DoD’s drive for Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control – advanced computing and software, future-generation wireless technology, integrated sensing, cyber, and renewable energy generation and storage.

“Establishing the centers at minority-serving institutions also strengthens the STEM pipeline by improving the skillsets of future scientists and engineers, preparing them for careers that will help advance the Department’s research enterprise,” Kent said.

The four awardees are:

  • Arizona State University – Center of Excellence in Future Generation Wireless Technology;
  • Florida International University – DoD Center of Excellence for Integrated Renewable Energy and Energy Storage;
  • Georgia State University – DoD Center of Excellence in Advanced Computing and Software; and
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Research and Education Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-serving Institutions.
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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.