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Princeton enters partnership with HBCUs, announces new research initiative

<h6>Angel Kuo / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Angel Kuo / The Daily Princetonian

Princeton announced a new research initiative dedicated to promoting innovative collaboration between Princeton researchers and their peers at Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCUs) on Wednesday, May 4. 

The program was developed in partnership with the United Negro College Fund, and participating institutions alongside the University will be Howard University, Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University, Spelman College, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 

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The University recently established the Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation (PACRI) for this partnership, which will designate up to $250,000 in funding for research projects led or co-led by participating historically Black institutions. The new funding program will be jointly led by Princeton Vice Dean for Innovation Rodney Priestley and Associate Professor of Sociology and Acting Director of the Office of Population Research Tod Hamilton. 

With the launch of this new initiative, Princeton joins an increasing number of colleges announcing initiatives aimed at enhancing research opportunities for Black voices in academia. In April, Harvard announced its intention to expand existing relationships with HBCUs, proposing summer, semester, and year-long opportunities to bring students, scholars, and faculty to study and teach at Harvard. This partnership came as a part of Harvard’s plan to administer some form of reparations for its ties to slavery and the slave trade in its early history, which is not stated as a motive for creating PACRI.

Princeton’s initiative seems unique in its research focus. According to Priestley, one of the main goals of the new PACRI funding program is to facilitate research, innovations, and collaborations that, without this kind of designated financial support, have not been previously possible.

“We believe that these collaborations enable Princeton researchers and innovators to achieve things that we cannot achieve alone,” Priestley said in the University’s statement. 

Administrators and researchers from partnering HBCU institutions expressed similar support and excitement for the initiative. Bruce Jones, Vice President for Research at Howard University, said, “I see great potential in bringing together great minds from two excellent institutions to tackle common problems of interest for mutual benefit,” in the University’s announcement.

Projects from all disciplines will be eligible so long as they are led by at least one principal investigator from a partnering HBCU, in addition to Princeton faculty. Those interested in submitting for funding must submit their research proposal by June 30. 

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Tess Weinreich is a news staff writer and Features contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at tw7353@princeton.edu

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