National Academies Report Finds Low Defense Department Research Funding for HBCUs

A new report from the National Academies of Science, Engnieeering and Medicine found that the majority of the naton’s historically Black colleges and universities did not receive significantly more defense research funding in 2020 than they did a decade earlier in 2010. This is despite a stated goal of the U.S. Department of Defense and Congress  to boost federally funded defense research at HBCUs.

The National Academies analysis used data from fiscal years 2010 to 2020. It indicated that there has not been a significant expansion in the funding for research projects or research capacity awarded to the vast majority of HBCUs, despite legislation and departmental efforts with this stated intent. These disparities point to a clear disconnect between the expressed direction by the Congress and DOD — to expand the defense research capacity at HBCUs and increase their participation in such research — and what has actually occurred over the last decade, said the committee that wrote the report.

“As one of the largest federal STEM funding agencies and employers, DOD plays an essential role in the U.S. science and technology ecosystem and can greatly expand opportunities to diversify the STEM workforce,” said committee chair Eugene DeLoatch, emeritus professor and inaugural dean of the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. School of Engineering at Morgan State University in Baltimore. “It is time to move from well-intentioned statements to actionable outcomes.”

The full report, Defense Research Capacity at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions: Transitioning from Good Intentions to Measurable Outcomes, may be accessed here.


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