Johnson C. Smith University

To examine the systemic barriers facing researchers in Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the Southeast in undertaking clean energy research

  • Amount $498,930
  • City Charlotte, NC
  • Investigator Bryan Patterson
  • Year 2021
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

Federal and state agencies have numerous grant and funding programs designed to incentivize researchers to develop new clean energy technologies and to speed the process by which clean energy innovations are brought to market. We know, however, that Black, Latino/a and Native American researchers do not participate in these programs at rates proportional to their representation among researchers, and there has been little research on what factors are driving this trend.  This grant supports a team led by Bryan Patterson at Johnson C. Smith University to explore the role that Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play in clean energy research ecosystems. Patterson is leading a team that includes collaborating researchers at Florida International University and The Ohio State University and practitioners from the HBCU Community Development Action Coalition, the National Association of State Energy Officials, and BW Research. Together, the team will examine the experiences of clean energy researchers from MSIs and HBCUs in four urban regions across the Southeast: Charlotte-Greensboro, North Carolina; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and Miami, Florida. The team will conduct 25 interviews with under-represented energy scholars of color in each region to understand the barriers and opportunities these scholars face in receiving federal funding, conducting research, and disseminating their findings. The team will also produce policy-relevant research briefs that provide insights and recommendations for government agencies investing in clean energy research, including a scorecard to help local policymakers assess their regional energy innovation ecosystems with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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