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Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Excellence in Research (HBCU-EiR)

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Excellence in Research program (HBCU-EiR) provides opportunities to stimulate sustainable improvement in research and development capacity. 

HBCU-EiR grants seek to create stronger connections between HBCU researchers and the U.S. National Science Foundation by funding projects aligned with NSF's research programs.

About HBCU-EiR

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HBCU-EiR was established in 2018 in response to direction provided in a report from the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (Senate Report 115-139) and is built on prior and continuing efforts by NSF to strengthen research capacity at HBCUs. This report provided guidance to NSF to establish the program "to provide opportunities for both public and private HBCUs, particularly for those who have not been successful in larger NSF Research & Related Activities competitions, in order to stimulate sustainable improvement in their research and development capacity."

HBCU-EiR planning grants

The HBCU-EiR Dear Colleague Letter encourages planning grant proposals from HBCUs to support initial conceptualization, planning and collaboration activities that will lead to solid plans for a future submission to the program. This opportunity is open to accredited HBCUs that have faculty members who conduct research in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics and/or STEM education discipline supported by NSF.  

HBCU-EiR Planning Grant Informational Webinar
On April 3, 2023, Drs. Dina Stroud and Casonya Johnson held an informational webinar to discuss and answer questions regarding the NSF Dear Colleague Letter funding opportunity (23-067) of HBCU-EiR Planning Grants meant to initialize conceptualization, planning and collaboration activities that will formulate solid plans for a future HBCU-EIR proposal submission.
Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

HBCU-EiR research grants

The HBCU-EiR funding opportunity awards grants to increase support for researchers at HBCUs interested in pursuing research in areas that align with NSF's program areas. The program is designed to establish stronger connections between researchers at HBCUs and NSF's core program. Researchers are empowered to subsequently apply for discipline-specific program funding, such as through core divisional solicitations. HBCU-EiR is managed by the Office of Integrative Activities in collaboration with a liaison group consisting of program directors representing each NSF directorate.


Key elements:

  • Provides research grants to individual faculty with an eye towards long-term impacts on research infrastructure at the institution. Lead principal investigators must have a full-time faculty or research appointment at an HBCU. Faculty at other institutions may partner as co-PIs but can only receive funding though subawards.
  • Ideally serves as a bridge between funding through the HBCU-Undergraduate Program Research Initiation Award and funding through NSF's research program areas.
  • PIs with an established history of successful research funding should apply directly to research programs in NSF directorates and not to the HBCU-EiR mechanism.
HBCU-EiR General Information Webinar
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Excellence in Research Team presented information about NSF 23-598, the HBCU-EiR solicitation. Information shared included a brief overview of the program and details, how to apply to the opportunity, general advice, and program contact information.
Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

HBCU-EiR ideas lab grants

The Advancing Research Capacity at HBCUs through Exploration and Innovation funding opportunity 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 exploring innovative approaches for addressing the research capacity needs of the nation's HBCUs and developing collaborative networks among HBCUs that enable STEM research. 


This lab aims to bring together HBCU faculty, staff, research administrators and academic leadership to develop innovative and transformative approaches for HBCUs to finance and conduct STEM research. The workshop will lead to new models and practices that sustainably increase research capacity. Participants will develop plans for collaborations within and between institutions; institutional practices for project planning and development; increased and enhanced research infrastructure through resource sharing; and access to information, tools and resources that facilitate basic research in NSF-supported fields.

Contact us

For inquiries about HBCU-EiR, email Casonya M. Johnson and/or Dina Stroud.