Initiative Seeks to Aid Collaboration with Historically Black Colleges and Universities

In the spirit of collaboration, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is stepping up efforts with its Historically Black Colleges & Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) Outreach Initiative.

HCBU/MI Outreach Initiative
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HCBU/MI Outreach Initiative Logo

Established in the early 1990s, the program seeks to be less of a mentoring outreach, instead focusing on creating partnerships with colleges and institutions that already have strong research infrastructures in place. According to GTRI Outreach Manager Margie Brown, the Army Environmental Policy Institute contracted with GTRI in the early ’90s to help develop its HBCU/MI and minority-owned small-business outreach partnership policies to ensure continued relationships with a diverse group of vendors and institutions. “This initiative was formalized by Dr. Jean-Lou Chameau, who at the time was the Vice Provost for Research,” Brown said.

Working in tandem with the U.S. Department of Defense and industry partners, Brown helps engage researchers from Tech’s academic units and GTRI with complementary researchers and programs in minority-serving institutions. “The objectives of this initiative are to increase interactions with HBCUs, sustain relationships for long-term impact and growth by all participants, and monitor efforts to ensure that they are measurable and meaningful,” she said.

The outreach initiative seeks interested faculty members and researchers with an interest in collaborative proposals. Support is provided to researchers in the way of assistance with proposals, access to a research database of HBCU/MI expertise and capabilities, travel costs to contract development meetings or conferences, and a calendar of events involving minority institutions and professional organizations. Funding for the program is a partnership between the Institute and GTRI, through the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Innovation, and the GTRI director’s office.

Program collaborators include Alabama A&M University, Florida International University, Hampton University, Tennessee State University, University of Texas San Antonio, Morehouse College, Savannah State and Florida A&M University. The initiative has more than 15 institutions as past or present partners.

“This effort is in keeping with the Institute’s mission of being the premier international technological university in a global society, and in keeping with its institutional commitment to the local and larger communities served by Georgia Tech,” Brown said. “The vision for current outreach efforts includes building upon previous experiences with these institutions, establishing new partnerships and collectively enriching the talent pool of scientists, technologists and engineers.”