Tuskegee University was named to participate in the first University Affiliated Research Center in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense with an HBCU focus. This is the 15th UARC, but the first associated with HBCUs and the first sponsored by the Air Force.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III made the announcement at Howard University, where the consortium will be based. The main objective of the tactical autonomy research to be conducted at Tuskegee, in collaboration with Howard University and other HBCU consortium member institutions, is to design, develop and demonstrate autonomous systems and technologies capable of performing specific missions in complex environments with minimum human interference.
Tuskegee’s participation is part of its Strategic Plan goal for research, innovation and entrepreneurship to move to the R2 classification outlined by Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education. R2 universities have “high research activity,” which means they award at least 20 research doctoral degrees annually and have at least $5 million in total research expenditures.
“This partnership fits with our goal to establish innovative solutions through research, entrepreneurship and scholarly activities,” said Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, Tuskegee president. “Our goal is to be a pre-eminent educational and research institution with an R2 designation to increase external grants for research. While this collaboration includes several HBCUs, the long-term benefit for the university and our students is enormous.”
Tuskegee joins Howard and Jackson State University, Hampton University, Bowie State University, Norfolk State University, Delaware State University, Florida Memorial University, and Tougaloo College in this collaboration.
“The Tuskegee University team will take an applied engineering research approach whereby testing proposed solutions on prototyped and/or experimental autonomous systems that are of military relevance to the DOD sponsors/stakeholders,” said Dr. Mandoye Ndoye, who represents Tuskegee on the initiative. “Through the new cyber-engineering-focused computer engineering program, the Tuskegee University team is well-positioned to engage in cybersecurity research and education for autonomous systems. This project is indeed an opportunity for our computer, electrical and other engineering students to participate in applied research and, through real-world projects, gain practical knowledge in hardware security and cyber-security for tactical autonomy applications.”
The Tuskegee University team is comprised of Dr. Mandoye Ndoye, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Marc Karam, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Heshmat Aglan, Dean and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Mr. Johnny Baker, DoD AERIC program manager.
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