DOE’s RENEW Initiative Will Support Two Dozen Minority Serving Institutions, Including HBCUs, to Build a Diverse STEM Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced 41 awards totaling $32 million to 37 institutions to support historically underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and diversify American leadership in the physical sciences, including energy and climate. The funding, through the DOE Office of Science’s Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) initiative, will support internships, training programs, and mentor opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), and other research institutions. Ensuring America’s best and brightest students have pathways to STEM fields will be key to achieving President Biden’s energy and climate goals, including achieving a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.

“The next generation of American scientists and engineers will be charged with solving some of the world’s most vexing problems, and that group will only be stronger for this initiative’s efforts to help ensure there are pathways to the STEM fields for previously underrepresented groups,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The RENEW program will bolster the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to solving some of the world’s biggest scientific challenges and providing opportunities for those who historically haven’t had them.”

RENEW will offer hands-on experiences and open new career avenues for talented young scientists, engineers, and technicians. The award-winning institutions are spread across 20 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Of the 37 awardee institutions, 24 are identified by the U.S. Department of Education as MSIs: 13 are Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), five are HBCUs, two are Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), one is a Tribal College and University, and three are identified as both HSIs and AANAPISIs. The other awardee institutions include major research universities and DOE national laboratories.

Awards focus on basic research in the physical sciences, including physics, chemistry, materials science, applied mathematics, computer science, and Earth and environmental sciences. Examples of selected projects include:

  • Training a diverse STEM workforce to measure and model energy, water, and carbon budgets;
  • Investing in regional networks to prepare students to enter the quantum computing and networking workforce;
  • Building students’ capabilities in fusion energy and plasma science and technology research; and
  • Providing hands-on training and education in isotope production and related science and technology at world class nuclear facilities, as mentorship plays a key role in setting up students for success in STEM careers.

The RENEW initiative leverages the Office of Science’s unique national laboratories, user facilities, and other research infrastructure to provide training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty at academic institutions currently underrepresented in the U.S. science and technology ecosystem. This funding will build a talent pool to further the Department’s missions.

See full lists of RENEW awards here.