A report released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense evaluated how to advance the research capacity of HBCUs and minority-serving institutions and “addresses key questions around why DOD has not yet harnessed these institutions as vital resources in developing its research portfolio.” The preface of the report states that, “it is time to move from well-intentioned statements to actionable outcomes,” and offers recommendations to strengthen the roles of these institutions in defense research.
To invest in R&D and cultivate a diverse pool of STEM talent, the report calls for “intentional and strategic investments,” in the nation’s HBCUs and MSIs. The report found that there has not been a significant expansion in the funding for research projects or research capacity awarded to the vast majority of HBCU/MIs, despite legislation and departmental efforts to do so. Recommendations in the report to close that gap include DOD providing long-term support with funding for equipment, facilities, personnel, and training programs. Additionally, DOD should double its target funding from FY 2020 to better match funding provided by other federal agencies and expand partnerships with HBCUs and MSIs to increase outreach and improve data collection. It also recommends that DOD build stronger relationships with researchers and leaders at HBCU/MIs, incentivize true partnerships, and improve data collection and evaluation.