Call for Student Climate Justice Abstracts

Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice –

Educate, Motivate, Innovate (EMI) Climate Justice Initiative Sub-Committee

The Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice’s (IWG EJ) new “Educate, Motivate and Innovate (EMI) Climate Justice Initiative” Sub-Committee is reaching out to our next generation of young climate-justice leaders attending Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).  We are seeking student-developed climate justice projects to showcase during our Inaugural EMI Climate Justice Training Workshop as part of the 2016 National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program to be held March 9-12, 2016 at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in Washington, DC. The EMI workshop will be held on either March 10 or 11th

The workshop focus is on the effects of climate change on communities with underserved, minority, low-income, or tribal populations.  The emphasis is on the relationships between climate change, human health, traditional practices, economic development, and environmental justice (EJ).

Student projects are being sought that are related to EJ and climate justice and that are educational, motivating and innovative – EMI.  Of particular interest are projects that are ongoing or that could be replicated by other MSI’s, partner agencies, or organizations.

Students are requested to submit an abstract by October 30, 2015 describing their project including:

  • Project statement to include discovery questions or issues being addressed;
  • Project type – for example: survey, community field project, development of new tools or resources;
  • Length of delivery – each student will have approximately 20 minutes;
  • Name of the targeted EJ community, issues faced, and their level of involvement;
  • Use of tools, methods, resources developed or offered by the Federal government;
  • Progress, findings, or accomplishments to date;
  • If an ongoing project – describe next phase/steps; and
  • Challenges and lessons learned.

The training workshop will also discuss how EJSCREEN – EPA’s new EJ screening tool – can help identify and better understand potential community vulnerabilities. Students will be asked to use EJSCREEN as part of their projects and report their findings during the workshop.

While each MSI may submit more than one abstract, we will not accept more than one abstract from any given institution. A maximum of five student abstracts will be accepted. Of the five students accepted, the conference and IWG EJ will provide travel transportation and room accommodations.

Please submit your abstracts and questions to Joanna Mounce Stancil at  or via phone at 703-217-2736.  Once the abstracts are received and reviewed, you will be notified of your acceptance.

NASA KSC Pathways Positions – Spring 2016

NASA Pathways Internship Employment Program (IEP):

This is a Program for students currently enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree seeking program. These positions may lead to full time employment with NASA after graduation.

NASA Center:
Kennedy Space Center, FL

Application Open Date:
Monday, October 5, 2015

Application Close Date:
Friday, October 9, 2015 11:59 EST

Anticipated Position Start Date:
Monday, January 25, 2015

Available Positions:
between 40-50

Application Website:

KSC Pathways Program Website:

**After you apply online through please do not forget to submit your transcript(s) and veterans documents (if applicable) via email to prior to the closing of the announcement following the instructions provided in each announcement**


The White House Initiative on HBCUs Celebrates the 125th Anniversary of Second Morrill Act

The White House Initiative on HBCUs celebrates the history and legacy of 19 historically Black universities that received land-grant status after the passing of the Second Morrill Act on August 30, 1890. The Federal Government passed the first Morrill Act in 1859 to advance agricultural sciences in the United States, and extended it to Confederate states in 1862. A second Morrill Act was established in 1890 to address discriminatory admissions practices in the formerly Confederate states, granting land-grant HBCUs the same legal status as the 1862 institutions.

Over the 125-year history of the 1890 HBCUs, they have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership, and have greatly contributed to the intellectual capital of the Nation. Today, we celebrate this triumphant moment in American history when this nation boldly addressed discrimination by creating a system of institutions that were so strong and vital that they have persisted and excelled, well beyond the laws that sustained legal discrimination for almost a century.

We salute:

  • Alabama A & M University, located in Normal, AL was founded 1875. Their current president is Andrew Hugine, Jr.
  • Alcorn State University, located in Alcorn State, MS was founded 1871. Their current president is Alfred Rankins.
  • Delaware State University, located in Dover, DE was founded 1891. Their current president is Harry L. Williams.
  • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, located in Tallahassee, FL was founded 1887. Their current president is Elmira Mangum.
  • Fort Valley State University, located in Fort Valley, GA was founded 1895. Their current interim president is Jessica Bailey.
  • Kentucky State University, located in Frankfort, KY was founded 1886. Their current president is Raymond M. Burse.
  • Langston University, located in Langston, OK was founded 1897. Their current president is Kent Smith.
  • Lincoln University of Missouri, located in Jefferson City, MO was founded 1866. Their current president is Kevin D. Rome.
  • North Carolina A & T State University, located in Greensboro, NC was founded 1891. Their current chancellor is Harold L. Martin, Sr.
  • Prairie View A & M University, located in Prairie View, TX was founded 1876. Their current president is George C. Wright.
  • South Carolina State University, located in Orangeburg, SC was founded 1896. Their current Interim president is Franklin Evans.
  • Southern University and A & M College, located in Baton Rouge, LA was founded 1880. Their current president is Ray Belton.
  • Tennessee State University, located in Nashville, TN was founded 1912. Their current president is Glenda Baskin Glover.
  • Tuskegee University, located in Tuskegee, AL was founded 1881. Their current president is Brian Johnson.
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, located in Pine Bluff, AR was founded 1873. Their current chancellor is Laurence B. Alexander.
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore, located in Princess Anne, MD was founded 1886. Their current president is Juliette B. Bell.
  • Central State University, located in Wilberforce, OH was founded 1887. Their current president is Cynthia Jackson-Hammond.
  • Virginia State University, located in Petersburg, VA was founded 1882. Their current interim president is Pamela V. Hammond.
  • West Virginia State University, located in Institute, WV was founded 1891. Their current president is Brian O. Hemphill.

Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D.
Acting Executive Director
White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities


Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) – 2015 Flight Research Opportunity NNH15ZDA010C

Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) – 2015

Flight Research Opportunity NNH15ZDA010C

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in collaboration with the Office of Education (OE) National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant) will release the Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) Student Flight Research Opportunity (SFRO) on or about August 21. USIP-2015 solicits proposals from U.S. institutions of higher education to develop an undergraduate-led Project Team that will fly a science and/or technology payload relevant to NASA strategic goals and objectives on a sounding rocket, balloon, aircraft, suborbital reusable launch vehicle (sRLV), or CubeSat launched on an orbital launch vehicle (hereafter referred to collectively as suborbital-class platforms).

The cost cap for an investigation awarded by OE is $200K, including the design, development, integration, and testing of the payload; student internships; and research on key innovative technologies. OE funding is limited to consortia of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant). See Appendix E for proposal conditions and guidelines for Space Grant consortia.

The cost cap for an investigation awarded by SMD is $100K, including the design, development, integration, testing of the payload; and student internships. SMD funding is available to all U.S. institutions of higher education.

Funding by NASA may be supplemented with contributions by the implementing institution (no limit); however, there are no expectations as to the amount of the institutional contribution and such contributions will not be considered in the evaluation of proposals. The selected projects must be launch-ready within 18 months of project initiation. SMD and OE estimate total funding available for award at $6.0M, and expect to select at least 30 projects for implementation, subject to available funding. The launch/flight services are provided by NASA at no cost to the project. Proposals to the USIP 2017 Solar Eclipse solicitation are not eligible for award under USIP-2015.

The two goals of this USIP SFRO are:

  • To provide a hands-on flight project experience to enhance the science, technical, leadership, and project skills for the selected undergraduate student team.
  • To fly a science and/or technology investigation relevant to NASA strategic goals and objectives on a suborbital-class platform.

The key dates of this solicitation are:

SFRO Release Date                                     August 21, 2015

Question and Answer Telecon                   September 10, 2015 (2:00 PM)

Notice of Intent Deadline                           October 1, 2015 (11:59 PM)

Proposal Submittal Deadline                     November 20, 2015 (11:59 PM)

Selections Announced (target)                 December, 2015

Launch Readiness                                        August 1, 2017

The solicitation may be found on NSPIRES at

by searching on NNH15ZDA010C

General questions concerning this solicitation may be directed to:

David Pierce
Senior Program Executive for Suborbital Research
Science Mission Directorate
NASA Headquarters
Phone: (202) 358-3808

Questions specifically concerning the Space Grant component of this solicitation may be directed to:

Dr. Lenell Allen
Director, Aerospace Research and Career Development (ARCD)
Office of Education
NASA Headquarters
Phone: (202) 358-1762

NASA Issues Innovative Advanced Concepts: Phase I Studies Appendix A3

Solicitation Number: NNH15ZOA001N-NIAC_A3
Release Date: August 21, 2015
Response Date: October 8, 2015 5:00pm Eastern (Step A Proposals)

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate has released an appendix to the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) NNH15ZOA0001N. This appendix solicits proposals for studying visionary, yet credible, advanced concepts in the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. NIAC’s goal is to “Change the Possible” in aerospace and aeronautics missions, and is available at{D98C4B89-295F-1652-C0AE-29B54B0E481D}&path=open

The NIAC Program focuses on early studies of visionary concepts that address NASA’s or the nation’s goals but also offer radically different approaches or leapfrog innovations to enable new missions, operations, or science capabilities. NIAC concepts are often high risk or far term, but worth studying now to inform technology investments and forward planning. The entry Technology Readiness Level (TRL) for NIAC Phase I concepts should be TRL 1 to TRL 2 in maturity. Successful studies analyze a candidate mission that could be made feasible with the proposed concept.

The NIAC Program supports innovative research through Phase I and Phase II awards. The Appendix focuses only on Phase I, and provides award information and proposal requirements. There are two steps to the Phase I proposal process; a brief Step A proposal open to all applicants, and an expanded Step B proposal for those Step A proposals that are invited. This Appendix describes both. NIAC will release a separate REsearch, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion (REDDI) Appendix soliciting Phase II proposals at a later date, with sufficient time for eligible Phase I Fellows awarded in this solicitation to apply for follow-on support of up to two more years of study and development.

Proposed concepts must satisfy the following criteria to qualify as candidates for a NIAC Phase I study; they must be: an aerospace architecture or mission concept, proposed in a mission context, be exciting and unexplored, and be credible and reasonable.

NIAC Virtual Forum

NASA will host a virtual forum that will address key aspects of this Appendix. The date targeted for this forum is tentatively Wednesday, September 9, 2015. Specific details for the forum will be posted on the following website: .

Offerors should refer to this website for updates and other information relevant to this Appendix. Although this will be a live forum, offerors are encouraged to pre-submit questions, preferably a week in advance, to with the subject title “NIAC Virtual Forum.”

To view the NIAC solicitations and related information, visit

For more information about NASA’s investments in space technology, visit:

WHIHBCU Announces the 2015 Cohort of HBCU All- Star Students!!

83 Students from 70 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Named 2015 HBCU All-Stars

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs) today announced its 2015 HBCU All-Stars, recognizing 83 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students for their accomplishments in academics, leadership, and civic engagement.

The All-Stars were selected from more than 450 students who submitted applications that included a transcript, resume, essay, and recommendation. Over the course of the year, the HBCU All-Stars will serve as ambassadors of the WHIHBCUs by providing outreach and communication with their fellow students about the value of education and the role of the Initiative as a networking resource.  Through social media and their relationships with community based organizations, the All-Stars will share promising and proven practices that support opportunities for all young people to achieve their educational and career potential.

“The Obama Administration is committed to promoting excellence, innovation and sustainability across our nation’s HBCUs. This year’s class of All-Stars has distinguished itself as exemplars of the talent that HBCUs cultivate and noble ambassadors of their respective institutions.” said Ivory A. Toldson, WHIHBCUs’ acting executive director. “We are confident these impressive students will help the White House Initiative on HBCUs meaningfully engage with students, showcase their talent and advance our agenda to advance academic excellence at HBCUs.”

In addition, the All-Stars will also participate in this year’s White House HBCU Week Conference in September as well as various national events, web chats with Toldson and other Initiative staff and professionals from a range of disciplines.  The All-Stars will have exceptional opportunities to engage with other HBCU scholars and to showcase their individual and collective talent across the HBCU community.

For more information regarding the 2015 HBCU All-Star Student program and application contact: and follow @WHI_HBCUs on Twitter.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Attached is a list of the 2015 HBCU All-Stars, alphabetical by their hometown state, and including the city they are from, the school they attend and the school’s location.

2015 HBCU All Stars


Greensboro – Jamie Binns, Talladega College, Talladega, AL

Huntsville – Ajiah Graham, J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College, Huntsville, AL

Huntsville – Kedgeree McKenzie, Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL

Tuscaloosa – Avery Brown, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL



Pine Bluff – Sidney Smith, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR



Palmdale – Jynae Jones, Miles College, Fairfield, AL



Denver- Cynthia Hall, St. Philips College, San Antonio, TX



Beachrhell Jacques – University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.



Miami Gardens – AcNeal Williams, Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL

Miami – Marquise McGriff, Florida Memorial University, Miami Gardens, FL

Orlando, Landon Wright, Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, FL

Tallahassee, Gilda Brown, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL



Atlanta – Jennifer Smith, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, FL

Atlanta – Lauren Wiggins, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN

Atlanta – Rebecca Dorsey, Albany State University, Albany, GA

Atlanta – Chaz Gibson, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Atlanta – Angelica Willis, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC

Atlanta – Alayna Robinson, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA

Augusta – Patrick Outler, Morris College, Sumter, SC

Barnesville – Austin Ogletree, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC

Covington – Timothy Tukes, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA

Fayetteville – Lindsey Foster, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Macon – Vi’Dual Futch, Benedict College, Columbia, SC

McDonough – Zoe McDowell, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

Warner Robbins – Shelton Bowens, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA



Fishers – Kasey Hornbuckle, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL



Radcliff – Ralph Williams, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY



Baton Rouge – Sally Ross, Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA

Gonzales – Sheirvan Ursin, Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, TX

Grambling – Temitayo Michael Akinjogunla, Grambling State University, Grambling, LA

New Orleans – Marina Banks, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA



Bryans Road – Aaleah Lancaster, Bennet College, Greensboro, NC

Capitol Heights – Kayla Fontaine, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA

Cheltenham – Leah Williams, Delaware State University, Dover, DE

Fort Washington – Ravenn Mathis, Bowie State University, Bowie, MD

Fort Washington – Antonia Hill, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA

Laurel – Salematou Traore, University Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD

Parkville- Marcel Jagne-Shaw, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD

Owings Mills – Miles Jenkins, Hampton University, Hampton, VA

Waldorf – Danielle Hawkins, Hampton University, Hampton, VA

Woodbine – Mya Harvard, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA



Berrien Springs – Rian Cho, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN



Corinth – English Fields, Rust College, Holly Springs, MS

Edwards – Erica Harris, Hinds Community CollegeUtica Campus, Utica, MS

Greenville – Spencer Davis, Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS

Jackson – Nina Hill, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS

Natchez – Jonathan Weir, Alcorn State University, Alcorn, MS



Richfeild – Bryann Guyton, Shaw University, Raleigh, NC



Las Vegas – Maliq Kendricks, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL



Camden – Christoff Lindsey, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX



Far Rockaway – Nathalie Nelson, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA

Cambria Heights- Gionelly Mills, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, PA



Charlotte – Elliot Jackson, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC

Charlotte – Raven Weathers, Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC

Charlotte – Mona Zahir, Winston Salem State University, Winston, Salem, NC

Durham – Tamina Kienka, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC

Kinston – Kyle Brown, Winston Salem State University, Winston, Salem, NC

Winston – Salem, Tyler Duncan, Vorhees College, Denmark, SC



Cincinnati – Sierra Blackwell, Fisk University, Nashville, TN

Columbus – Christina Hathcer, Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, OH



Pittsburgh – Kevin Lee, Paul Quinn College, Dallas, TX

York – Kristin Shipley, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC



Hemingway – Kimesha Cooper, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC

Orangeburg – Kareem Heslop, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC

Orangeburg – Samuel Cole, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC

Society Hill – Lamar Butler, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL



Jackson – Tremaine Sails, Dunbar, American Baptist College, Nashville, TN

Memphis – Taevin Lewis, HarrisStowe State University, St. Louis, MO

Memphis – Keenan Lowery, Lane College, Jackson, TN

Memphis – Tamara Bates, Philander Smith College, Little Rock, AR



Arlington – Mira Bakine, Langston University, Langston, OK

Dallas – Nateisha Choice, Wiley College, Marshall, TX

Fort Worth – Britt Spears, Prairie View A&M University, Fort Worth, TX

Houston – Quentin Monroe, Central State University, Wilberforce, OH

Houston – Francis Vazquez, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX



Racine- Jeanni Simpson- Howard University, Washington, DC



Disputanta – Tatyana Calhoun, University of the District of Colombia, Washington, D.C.

Hampton – McKinley Strother, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC

Richmond – Leah Reid, Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA

Virginia Beach – Jasmine Dunbar, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA



St. Thomas – Tonecia Rogers, University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, USVI



Enugu – Jude Okanya, Paine College, Augusta, GA



Johannesburg – Andronica Klaas, Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC


SAVE THE DATE! WHIHBCU Federal Funding Webinar with NSF

Webinar, August 27 from 2:00PM-3:30PM EST

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCU) will host a series of webinars to educate Historically Black Colleges and Universities on the grants and opportunities available to them throughout the federal government.

The WHIHBCU will co-host a webinar with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on August 27, 2015 from 2:00PM-3:30PM EST.

This webinar will feature a presentation by NSF highlighting their funding opportunities for HBCUs. Representatives from the HBCU community are invited and encouraged to view the webinar live and ask questions. Webinar information is listed below.

Date:   Thursday, August 27, 2015

Time:  2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Webinar link and call information forthcoming!

Please feel free to distribute this information to your networks. We look forward to the webinar!

How HBCUs Can Get Federal Sponsorship from the National Science Foundation

By: Ivory A. Toldson & DeShawn Preston


  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds more than 11,000 grants to support research, education, and training projects annually.
  • NSF accounts for 24 percent of all federal support to colleges and universities in the United States for basic research.
  • In 2014, NSF awarded $5,253,638,733 to Institutions of Higher Education with $91,230,809 of the funding awarded to HBCUs.
  • For Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the budget proposes $1.2 billion for STEM education activities, including NSF research Traineeships, Cyber Corps; Scholarships for Service; Graduate Research Fellowship Program; Improving Undergraduate STEM Education; and NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners that have been Underrepresented for Diversity in Engineering and Science).


Although Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) make up only 2 percent of the nation’s institutions of higher education (IHEs), they are the primary incubators of Black students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). According to a recent NSF report, 21 of the top 50 institutions for producing Black graduates who go on to receive their doctorates in Science and Engineering (S&E) are HBCUs. In 2012, HBCUs awarded 17.8 percent of Science and Engineering bachelor’s degrees to Black students.

The National Science Foundation awards over $5 billion to institutes of higher education (IHEs), however HBCUs received only 1.7 percent of this revenue in the most recent year of data available. Over the past two FYs (2012, 2013) the funding to HBCUs declined primarily because of reductions in the funding of LSAMP, CREST, and two scholarships (SFS- S STEM). The purpose of this article is to provide information to assist HBCUs who are interested in securing federal sponsorship for their research and programs through NSF.

The National Science Foundation Overview

The National Science Foundation’s mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense,” by identifying and funding work at the frontier of science and engineering. NSF was created by Congress in 1950 as an independent federal agency and employs about 2,100 people, including 1,400 career employees, 200 scientists from research institutions on temporary duty, and 450 contract workers and staff. NSF is divided into seven directorates made up by divisions that support science and engineering research and education.

The FY 2016 budget requests $7.7 billion, an increase of $379.3 million from FY 2015 for NSF. This increase will mirror the agenda from President Obama’s administration to support science and engineering broadly, as well as the people that are enhancing the nation’s scientific knowledge and discovery. This budget will allow NSF to continue to make investments in learning and discovery that will grow the economy, sustain a competitive advantage, and enable the United States to remain the world leader in innovation. Specifically, the FY 2016 request:

  • $143.9 million to Understanding the Brain (UtB), contributing to the Administration’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovation and Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
  • $58 million to Risk and Resilience, which aims to improve predictability, risk assessment, increase resilience to extreme natural and manmade events, and to rescue the impact on the quality of life, society, and the economy.
  • The Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS) to receive $74.96 million to study, design, and model how food, energy, and water systems operate through research.
  • $15 million to Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners that have been Underrepresented for Diversity in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES) for national initiatives to increase the preparation, participation, advancement, and potential contributions to underrepresented students in STEM.

White House Initiative on HBCUs’ Liaison to the National Science Foundation

As the liaison between the White House Initiative on HBCUs (WHIHBCUs) and NSF, Tracy Gorman works with the WHIHBCUs to organize efforts to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs through increased participation in appropriate Federal programs and initiatives.

Specifically, Ms. Gorman helps the WHIHBCUs to:

  • Establish how the department or agency intends to increase the capacity of HBCUs to compete effectively for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements and to encourage HBCUs to participate in Federal programs;
  • Identify Federal programs and initiatives where HBCUs may be either underserved or underused, and improve the participation within those areas; and
  • Encourage public and private sector, as well as community involvement in improving the overall capacity of HBCUs.

Ms. Gorman serves as a NSF Program Officer and Staff Assistant in the office of the Director for NSF. She is responsible for tracking funds allocated to Minority Serving Institutions and for writing the annual funding report.

What Opportunities are there for HBCUs to compete for grants/contracts through NSF?

There are over 300 funding opportunities offered by NSF in which Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), including HBCUs, are encouraged to apply. The best way to gain access to these funds is to align research and grant proposals to agency-identified priority areas. HBCUs should identify the needs and requests from science and engineering communities, and congressional interests to increase the probability of allocating funds from NSF. HBCUs can review the funding opportunities for IHEs offered by NSF on their webpage ( Funding can be identified by either program area (e.g. biology, cyberinfrastructure, engineering, geosciences, and physical sciences) or type of activities (e.g. cross-cutting, NSF-wide, or broadening participation).

Research and Development (R&D)

The majority of NSF’s solicited and unsolicited funding activities come from R&D. For FY 2016, NSF projects to fund $4.1 billion to IHEs for R&D. Research projects are proposed by single investigators or collaborative teams. Teams are supported in the following areas: biology; geosciences; engineering; education; social, behavioral, and economic sciences; mathematical and physical sciences; and computer and information science and engineering. In FY 2014, HBCUs were awarded new and incremental funding from 64 research programs. From the 64 research programs HBCUs received $34.8 million of the $4.1 billion allocated to IHEs, making up only 0.8 percent of all funds for R&D.

  • Core Research: These programs provide funding for basic research in the science and engineering fields supported by NSF. Funding for this particular category can be solicited or unsolicited. The research may focus on a single discipline or interdisciplinary. Information about core research areas and activities can be found on the seven Directorate/Division webpage.
  • Foundation-wide: All directorates within NSF participate in this award. These solicitation driven programs fund basic research and education in all supported NSF fields of science and engineering. Some of the programs in this category are The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), and Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and engineering Careers (ADVANCE).
  • Targeted Programs: HBCUs in previous years have participated in targeted programs within R&D. These programs are solicitation driven and cover a number of research activities looking to develop on-campus research capacity or partnerships within a region, internationally, or with other institutions of higher education. Program eligibility and requirements maybe restricted and are detailed in the solicitation. Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST), HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-Rise), Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM), and Partnerships in Astronomy and Astrophysics Research and Education (PAARE) are all targeted programs eligible to HBCUS or Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and have all been awarded to a number of HBCUs.

Education and Training

The majority of the programs in this category are centered on advancing STEM learning, improving scientific knowledge, and preparing a globally competitive science and engineering workforce. HBCUs have proven to be most successful in this particular category. In FY 2014, HBCUs were awarded new and incremental funding from 14 programs, receiving $53.2 million making up 7.8 percent of all funds allocated to IHEs. This category includes the majority of programs specifically eligible to MSIs, such as the Louis Stoke Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP),and Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP). For FY 2016, the president’s budget request to Congress proposes $15 million for a new program, NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the nation of Communities of Learners that have been Underrepresented for Diversity in Engineering and Science).

Facilities and Equipment

Another area where HBCUs are more successful within NSF is in support of Facilities and Equipment. In FY 2014, HBCUs received $2.5 million, making up 2.4 percent of all funds allocated to IHEs. In total, eight HBCUs received new MRI awards. The majority of the awards received by HBCUs come from the major Research instrumentation Program (MRI). MRI desires to improve the quality and expand research and training in science and engineering, and to integrate research and education by providing instrumentation for research-intensive learning environments. For FY 2016, the budget will see a 0.2 percent decrease in funding for facilities and equipment. However, HBCUs are still encouraged to seek funding in this area.

Fellowships, Internships, Traineeships, Recruitment and IPAs

There are several programs throughout NSF that fund fellowships, internships, traineeships, and recruitment. Funding to HBCUs has supported individuals in two major programs: Graduate Research Fellowships (GRF) and Intergovernmental Personnel Mobility Act (IPA). In FY 2014, HBCUs received support for one GRF and four IPAs, bringing in $568,000 to all HBCUs, and making up 0.2 percent of all funds allocated to IHEs. The various opportunities offered through this category are vital roles at NSF, especially IPAs. Having active personnel in various roles will allow HBCUs to build stronger relationships with NSF, as well as learn a more effective strategy to receive grants.

What advice does the National Science Foundation have for HBCUs who are seeking federal grants and contracts?

  1. Subscribe to NSF Updates. An online subscription service offers updates on events, funding opportunities, publications, and vacancies, among other items. IHEs may customize their subscription so it focuses on activities or programs of interest to them.
  2. Attend NSF Grant Conferences. NSF provides a bi-annual conference to give insight into current issues at NSF including the state of current funding; new and current policies and procedures; and pertinent administrative issues. Officers representing each NSF directorate will also be present to provide up-to-date information about various funding opportunities and to answer any questions. To be notified of future conferences sign up at
  3. Get involved. The various directorates within NSF are always seeking qualified individuals to participate in the reviewing process of applications for grant funding. The same individuals may also qualify for IPA assignments, panelists, advisors. Working in such positions will provide an understanding of the operations and goals of NSF, as well as more insight to how HBCUs can receive more funds.
  4. Make connections.  Contact the program officer listed on the program webpage or in a solicitation before starting the application. Find out about the program priorities and application imperatives. If you have difficulty identifying the appropriate program officer, contact the Division Director.   A complete NSF organization list (directorates and divisions) including phone numbers is available online at
  5. Start early. Institutions should apply for grant funding early while also striving for the proposal to be collaborative, evidence-based, measured, and comprehensive. Build in an initial rejection and revision into the expected time between starting the application and getting funded.
  6. The National Science Foundation recommends IHEs to apply for grants as the primary fiscal agent, in addition identify partnerships with local and national agencies, regional organizations, and a variety of relevant affiliates.
  7. Ground your proposal in research. Successful grant proposals provide in-depth scholarly work and consist of concrete action plans. Consult the program director for each division to understand the accepted validated standards for NSF programs.
  8. If first you don’t succeed, try again. If your institution is denied grant funding, it is imperative to seek the counsel of NSF to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal. The agency suggests that denied applicants capitalize on this feedback to revise grant proposal and reapply in the next application season.


There are many grant opportunities within NSF. While NSF has special programs gear towards minority and HBCUs, they have a number of competitive opportunities that are available to all IHEs. In order to increase funding, HBCUs must take full advantage of all funding opportunities, and not limit proposals to opportunities designated specifically to HBCUs.

In recent years HBCUs have mainly received funds for educational activities. The awards are typically distributed to programs such as HBCU RISE, HBCU-UP, and CREST, which have not seen an increase in the budget since 2014. In order for HBCUs to increase funding opportunities these institutions must broaden the participation within NSF. HBCUs must apply for more grants and research within Research and Development where they are only receiving 0.8 percent of the funds and in Fellowships, Internships, Traineeships, Recruitment, and IPAs where they only receive 0.2 percent of the awards. It is imperative for HBCUs to seek funding from these particular categories, because this is where the overwhelming majority of funds are allocated through NSF. By continuously applying within the two areas HBCUs will gain partnership within NSF, allowing for better comprehension of the language, day to day operations, and goals of NSF, this should prove to be advantageous in the funding application process.

The WHIHBCUs should frequently provide reports such as this, which has information regarding the agency’s HBCU liaison, background facts, funding trends, existing HBCU relationships, and agency emphasis. The WHIHBCUs is here to work with Federal partners to provide technical support to HBCUs who are interested in applying for funding. HBCUs should develop their institutional capacity to produce competitive grants. Members of Congress can help HBCUs to network with key personnel at federal agencies. Members can also help HBCUs connect with corporate and philanthropic partners to strengthen collaborative efforts.

List of Program and Program Directors

Contact specific directorate of interest

Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., is the interim executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is currently on leave from his position as associate professor at Howard University.

DeShawn Preston is a doctoral student in Higher Educational Leadership at Clemson University. He holds a B.A. in History from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. His research agenda focuses on African American students in graduate and professional programs. More specifically his dissertation topic examines the roll/influences HBCUs play in assisting African Americans with enrollment into doctoral programs.