Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Department of Defense Launches HBCU Centers of Excellence


The Department of Defense announced an award of $15 million to two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to establish Centers of Excellence (COEs) in Biotechnology and Materials Science. 

North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T) and Morgan State University (MSU) were selected for the multi-million dollar grant on the basis of a merit competition conducted by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD R&E). 

“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 Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, acting Deputy Director for Research, Technology, and Laboratories of OUSD R&E.

Expand Defense Research

The Center for Biotechnology at NC A&T will detect and monitor various “chemical and biological threat agents” relevant to national defense while MSU will explore the technological potential of 2D materials like wearable photovoltaics and thermally-managed photo-sensors that will be used by the DoD.

In addition to training underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and management (STEM) disciplines, the COEs will also provide internships at defense laboratories where students will collaborate with DoD researchers. Further, the centers will educate K-12 students to increase awareness about defense research.

“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,” Pamulapati added.

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