HBCU to Get $18 Million Research Center Grant

North Carolina A&T State University will receive $18 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in a project to develop a research center on its campus. The university is the first historically black institution in the country to lead the multimillion-dollar endeavor.

“We are so excited that we are able to break the glass ceiling and make the way for other HBCUs to benefit from this in the future,” says N. Radhakrishnan, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and economic development at North Carolina A&T.

The school, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, will receive the grant over the next five years, with a potential duration of 10 years, to fund the Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials, according to the school’s Website. The center will facilitate research in biomedical engineering, including the development of implants for children with birth defects and heart conditions, and will be led by Dr. Jagannathan Sankar, an engineering professor at the institution.

Researchers at the center will work with the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pittsburgh, along with companies in the nanobiotechnology industry. The research focus will be on biodegradable implants that could reduce complications for patients with conditions including bone fractures and cleft palates.

North Carolina A&T will also start a new department of bioengineering in conjunction with the research center. Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in bioengineering will be offered, and both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Cincinnati will collaborate in research and academic programs. The school will also be working with Hannover Medical School in Germany in the area of regenerative medicine, Radhakrishnan says.

The university, listed among Black Enterprise’s Top 50 Colleges for African Americans, was among five schools chosen by the NSF for research center funding. More than 143 proposals were submitted in applying for the foundation’s most prestigious award.

The NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress that provides funding for federally supported basic research conducted by the nation’s colleges and universities.