DOD Invests $40 Million to Establish Research Centers of Excellence at Minority-serving Institutions

Oct 17, 2023

The Department of Defense today announced the establishment of four new research centers of excellence at minority-serving institutions of higher education, as part of its Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-serving Institutions Research and Education Program.

Selected through a merit-based competition, the awardees and their academic partners will conduct research over a five-year period in technology areas critical to the Department’s drive for Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control:  advanced computing and software, future-generation wireless technology, integrated sensing and cyber, and renewable energy generation and storage.

The awards total $40 million and will enhance research programs and capabilities in critical scientific and engineering disciplines, while expanding HBCU’s and MII’s capacity to participate in DoD research programs and activities.  These awards will also increase the number of graduates in STEM fields, including those from under-represented minorities, which is critically important to the Department’s mission.

“These COEs will boost the Department’s ability to conduct transformative research in areas that are vital to safeguarding national security.  We look forward to them contributing stimulating ideas and innovations that could lead to the development of novel technologies and methodologies,” said DOD HBCU/MI Program and Outreach Director Evelyn Kent. “Establishing the centers at minority-serving institutions also strengthens the STEM pipeline by improving the skillsets of future scientists and engineers, preparing them for careers that will help advance the Department’s research enterprise.”

The COEs were awarded based on a merit review by a panel of experts.  DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory will make the awards to four winning institutions.

The four awardees are:

  • Arizona State University – Center of Excellence in Future Generation Wireless Technology (FutureG):  Arizona State University and collaborator Ohio State University will investigate FutureG network challenges and opportunities, including multiple-input/multiple-output and waveform designs, physical-layer and signal processing technologies, distributed control and machine learning algorithms, and innovative security mechanisms.
  • Florida International University – DoD Center of Excellence for Integrated Renewable Energy and Energy Storage:  Florida International University will partner with Pennsylvania State University to provide solutions that improve DoD’s operational readiness through modern renewable energy generation systems, seamlessly integrated with energy storage.
  • Georgia State University – DoD Center of Excellence in Advanced Computing and Software:  In partnership with Duke University, Georgia State University will perform research in several key areas, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, natural language processing, efficient deep neural networks, human-AI teaming and security, and trust and explainability in AI and machine learning systems.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Research and Education Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-serving Institutions (Integrated Sensing and Cyber):  Virginia Polytechnic Institute along with Pennsylvania State University will research and develop integrated sensing and cyber technologies that can operate at the intersection of cyberspace, electronic warfare, radar, and communications in highly contested environments.