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AAMU-RISE/Georgia Tech Research Institute partnership will assist Army readiness

The partnership undergirds efforts by the Biden administration to strengthen the research and development capabilities of HBCUs.

Alabama A&M

The key research units of Alabama A&M University (AAMU) and Georgia Tech have formed a partnership aimed at helping sustain the Army’s readiness and modernization.

The AAMU-RISE Foundation and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have entered into a formal partnership to offer joint services to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (DEVCOM AvMC); the U.S. Army Program Executive Office – Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S); and the Project Management Office – Aircraft Survivability Equipment (PMO-ASE).

The partnership was facilitated by the Tougaloo College Research and Development Foundation and undergirds efforts by the Biden Administration to strengthen the research and development capabilities of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), such as the public Alabama A&M and the private Tougaloo.

AAMU President Daniel K. Wims hosted a meeting to announce the strategic partnership, calling it an “HBCU Research Roadmap” that provides mentor/protégé milestones that will lead to a boosting of A&M’s research infrastructure and increasing contracting opportunities.

In addition to Dr. Andrew Scott, interim director of AAMU RISE, the meeting was attended by representatives of partnering entities, including Dr. James Kirsch, director of the DEVCOM AvMC Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration (S3I) Directorate; Josh Smothers, GTRI University Affiliated Research Center; Darrell Quarles, PEO IEW&S; Dr. Emily Monago, GTRI director of diversity; Dr. Thomas Martin, GTRI chief scientist; and John Rosenthall and Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, Tougaloo College Research and Development Foundation.

“The mission and success of the AAMU-RISE Foundation has a profound impact on our campus, the Tennessee Valley community and our nation,” said Dr. Wims.

“We are excited to support this partnership that will enhance DoD’s research base and build capabilities within HBCUs and minority-serving institutions (MSIs),” said PMO-ASE Tech Lead Darrell Quarles.

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GTRI advances Defense operations through its leading edge research, development and engineering capabilities. AAMU-RISE is a non-profit organization that serves as a contracting hub between AAMU and its governmental and industrial partners. The Tougaloo College Research and Development Foundation based in Mississippi forms and manages partnerships and collaboration between higher education institutions, government contractors and small and minority businesses.

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The grants are from the Alabama Research and Development Enhancement Fund, a state-funded program created in 2019.


Sewell will also announce a total of $1,000,000 in federal funding for Alabama State and Alabama A&M.


If our ambitions seem big, it may be helpful to remember our track record of accomplishments, which is anything but small.


Alabama has the largest number of HBCUs in the nation.