Collage of persons with disabilities and people of different ages, ethnicities and races doing research and learning.
Broadening Participation in STEM

Supporting Black/African Americans in STEM

The U.S. National Science Foundation is dedicated to increasing the involvement of Black/African Americans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

NSF provides support and resources of particular interest to Black/African American students and scientists, including:

  • Grants for individuals, institutions and organizations that promote diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.  
  • Supplemental funding for existing NSF awardees to broaden participation in the STEM enterprise.
  • Alliances among universities and colleges to increase the number of Black/African American scientists and students in STEM fields. 
  • Fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students, which provide funding and opportunities for students to gain research experience and skills in STEM fields.
  • Prestigious awards for Black/African American STEM leaders.


The Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) provides awards to strengthen STEM undergraduate education and research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCU-UP is actively encouraging new proposals and supplemental funding requests.


The Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Excellence in Research (HBCU-EiR) supports research at public and private HBCUs to strengthen research capacity and promote engagement with NSF. HBCU-EiR invites planning proposals from HBCUs to support activities that will lead to a future HBCU-EiR submission.

Additional funding opportunities

Duke Professors to Lead Nationwide Effort to Diversify Participation in Computing

NSF funded a $10 million grant to increase computing entry, retention and degree completion rates of students from historically underrepresented groups

Developing STEM Talent

NSF establishes new center to study successful undergraduate STEM education practices at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

NSF awarded $9 million to establish the center, which will study and model the successful practices of HBCUs, with the aim of applying these practices broadly in higher education. 


Developing and supporting STEM talent is crucial for maintaining the country's global competitiveness and creating a diverse and skilled workforce for the future. To achieve this goal, the NSF invests in a variety of programs and initiatives that focus on identifying and nurturing talent in the STEM fields. These programs include:

Prestigious awards

NSF recognizes the importance of diversity in the scientific community and offers several honorary awards to honor diverse individuals and organizations. These include:

First principal investigator faculty member of an HBCU receives the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award

Dr. Lara Thompson, received $1 million over five years for research on rehabilitation robotics and devices for veterans and amputees.


Special initiatives

Seal for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Credit: The White House

  • White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities: The Initiative is dedicated to a Government-wide policy making effort to eliminate barriers HBCUs face in providing the highest-quality education to a growing number of students. The Initiative works closely with the Executive Office of the President on key Administration priorities related to advancing educational equity, excellence, and economic opportunity through HBCUs, in partnership with HBCU leaders, representatives, students, and alumni.
  • Advancing Research Capacity at HBCUs through Exploration and Innovation: This solicitation invites participation in an Ideas Lab, which is an intensive, facilitated workshop that brings together multiple diverse perspectives to find innovative solutions to a grand challenge. This Ideas Lab will focus on exploration of innovative approaches for addressing the research capacity needs of the Nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and development of collaborative networks among HBCUs that enable research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

Contact information

For further information concerning NSF's Broadening Participation programs, please contact:

Dr. Alicia J. Knoedler
NSF Executive Liaison for Broadening Participation in STEM
U.S. National Science Foundation

Phone: 703-292-4717