Collaboration in Action: Georgia Tech Provides Initial Round of Seed Grants to HBCU Partners

A group of people sitting around round tables watching a presentation.

The Research Collaboration Forum attracted industry partners and HBCU/MSI partners to Georgia Tech on November 7, 2023. (Credit: Taiesha Smith)

Georgia Tech is spearheading a bold initiative in inclusive innovation, by significantly investing in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Following the success of the Research Collaboration Forum in November 2023, which focused on advancing minority students in science and technology, the Executive Vice President of Research’s (EVPR) Office allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars in seed grants. 

Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships, George White, called the forum and subsequent funding “an unprecedented opportunity to bring together one of the most diverse stakeholder groups ever assembled at Georgia Tech.” This groundbreaking effort underscores Georgia Tech's commitment to diversity and collaborative progress in research and academia.

In addition to these grants, Sandia National Lab pledged $10,000 to support HBCU travel to the lab located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Georgia Tech thanks its industry partners — Boeing, Cadence, GTRI, GlobalFoundries, Micron, Microsoft, Novelis, and UPS, along with Georgia Tech’s EVPR Office and the Strategic Energy Institute — for supporting this initiative.

"Inclusivity is a cornerstone of our research enterprise,” said Georgia Tech Executive Vice President of Research Chaouki Abdallah. “Diverse partnerships such as these seed grants enrich our academic pursuits and allow us to not only address larger societal concerns but to also ensure that our resulting joint innovations are truly accepted by all.”

Georgia Tech plans to grow the Research Collaboration Forum into an annual event that includes additional industry partners, HBCUs, and Research 1 institutions.

“As Georgia Tech strives to be a thought leader in the space of inclusive research, initiatives like this are necessary for the success of HBCUs,” said Taiesha Smith, senior program manager for HBCU-MSI Research Partnerships. “Without the support of Georgia Tech's leadership in engaging with these diverse communities, opportunities like this simply would not exist.”

The following HBCU teams, which include a Georgia Tech faculty member, have been awarded a grant:

  • Trustworthy AI for UAV Controller Security – Clark Atlanta University
  • Analyzing Food Insecurity in Atlanta – Morehouse College
  • Team Building: 2D-2D Hybrid Heterostructure for High-Sensitivity Infrared Photodetectors – Jackson State University
  • Active Flow Control Using Suction Blowing – Tuskegee University
  • Bidirectional Learning of a Challenging Balance Task – Florida A&M University
  • The Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Teen Dating Violence – Spelman College
  • LIDAR Applications to Grow the Talent Pipeline – Savannah State University
  • Capacity Building: Characterizing Quantum Materials Under Extreme Conditions – Florida A&M University
  • Collaborative Infrastructure and Sustainability Efforts for CollabNext: A Person-Focused Knowledge Network – Texas Southern University & Fisk University
  • Strengthening Sustainability in Public Health Education: A Collaborative Initiative Between Morehouse School of Medicine and Georgia Tech, with Support from Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia State, and RCE Greater Atlanta – Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Development of Lead-Free, Manganese-Based Halide Perovskites for Optoelectronic Applications – Albany State University
  • Nanostructured Catalysts for Selective Electrocatalysis of Biomass-Derived Platform Molecule – Clark Atlanta University
  • Inclusive Materials and Manufacturing Engineering Research Scholarship Experience – Albany State University and Morris Brown College

Microsoft also provided support to several participating HBCUs through its Microsoft Accelerate Foundation Models Research Program – Minority Serving Institutions Cohort:

  • Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Morehouse College
  • Alabama A&M University
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Michelle Azriel, Senior Writer/Editor