Department of Defense Launches STEM Centers at Two HBCUs

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Morgan State UniversityMorgan State UniversityThrough the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)), the Department of Defense (DoD) awarded a total of $15 million to two historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to establish Centers of Excellence in Biotechnology and Materials Science.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T) and Morgan State University were selected to research two defense priority areas over five years. After negotiations between the universities and the DoD, the Army Research Laboratory issued the awards to each academic institution. 

"The Department continues to forge partnerships with academia to stimulate research and innovation leading to the development of critical technologies required to meet our warfighter needs," said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, acting deputy director for research, technology, and laboratories in OUSD(R&E).

In partnership with Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, NCA&T will research technology that can detect and monitor chemical and biological threat agents. Morgan State will work with Johns Hopkins University to study an emerging class of two-dimensional (2D) materials for the DoD's use. 

"Biotechnology and materials science remains a priority across the Department to achieve new operational capabilities ranging from strengthening chemical biological defense systems to impacting warfighter performance," said Pamulapati. "We are excited for the range of activities the Centers will conduct in their technical areas and look forward to the foremost research contributions to the defense research enterprise."

The Centers of Excellence will train underrepresented students in STEM at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Through DoD collaborations, the Centers will additionally provide internships at defense laboratories and, to fortify the talent pipeline, will offer STEM training to K-12 students.