First In the World MSI Call Monday, April 27th at 3:00PM!!!

This year, Congress has appropriated $60 million to the Department of Education (ED) for the First in the World (FITW) grant competition, with a $16 million set-aside for Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI’s).  Although priorities for the FY2015 competition have not yet been announced, ED is providing general information about FITW to help institutions begin preparing

On Monday, April 27th , from 3:00-4:00pm Eastern Time, the White House Initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities will host “Office Hours” for Minority Serving Institutions.  Dr. Ivory Toldson, Deputy Director for the Initiative, will open up the call and turn it over to Frank Frankfort and Gary Thomas of the Office of Postsecondary Education to discuss First in the World and take questions.

To participate, please dial in at:

Dial In: 800-369-1818

Participant passcode: 5411524

The purpose of the FITW grant competition is to incentivize institutions of higher education and partnering nonprofit organizations to collaborate and help spur the development of innovative approaches and strategies that will improve educational access and outcomes. To help grow the evidence base of effective educational practices, FITW is structured as an evidence-based grant competition that offers up to three tiers of grants – development, validation, and scale up.  Each tier requires a specific level of evidence underlying the proposed approach, and rigorous evaluation of each funded intervention.

ED expects to announce priorities for this competition in May; proposed priorities for the overall program were open for public comment in February-March.

The First in the World competition is run out of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) office, at ED’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

To learn more about the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) and its grant programs, please visit OPES’s website or follow us on Twitter at: @EDPostsecondary.

A RSVP is required for this call. You may RSVP by sending and email to:

Job Opportunities with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) has job opportunities available.

Brief Background:

OMWI was established in July of 2011, as required by Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  OMWI is responsible for:

  • taking affirmative steps to seek diversity at all levels of the SEC’s workforce,
  • increasing participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the SEC’s programs and contracts, including standards for coordinating technical assistance to such businesses; and
  • assessing the diversity policies and practices of entities regulated by the SEC.

For more information regardign the job opportunities see : Vacancy Announcement or contact

Germon Rochez
Recruitment Coordinator
Phone: 202-551-6046



PHMSA Offering $2 Million in University Research Grants for Pipeline Safety Solutions

PHMSA 01-15

Friday, April 10, 2015

Contact:  Patricia Klinger

Tel.:  (202) 366-4831


PHMSA Offering $2 Million in University Research Grants for Pipeline Safety Solutions

Grants Support Agency’s Recruitment Efforts

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced that it is offering $2 million in grants for students and faculty at nonprofit institutions of higher education to research pipeline safety solutions – more than twice the amount awarded last year.  In addition to funding potential transportation solutions, PHMSA offers the grants to expose new engineers and scientists to the technical side of the energy transportation sector, supporting the agency’s recruitment efforts.

“The time is now to start investing in long-term safety innovations and retain a highly skilled, federal workforce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “These grants will encourage students to use innovation and explore new ways to envision pipeline safety solutions for our transportation problems.”

The agency is hiring more than 100 new employees this year, most of whom will serve as pipeline safety inspectors.  The Competitive Academic Agreement Program (CAAP) supports the agency’s oversight of the nation’s exponentially growing energy production and transportation, and helps address the need for new technically trained federal employees.

Launched in 2013, the CAAP has grown based on previous student accomplishments and university interest.  To date, PHMSA has awarded more than $1.5 million to nearly 80 students’ multi-year research projects.  This year’s applicants may receive up to $300,000 for their proposed studies.  The awards are partially matched by non-federal funding.

A third of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire by 2017, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“We’re not simply offering grants through the Competitive Academic Agreement Program; we’re demonstrating to engineering and technical students that their disciplines are in demand in the energy pipeline sector,” said PHMSA Acting Administrator Timothy Butters.  “PHMSA provides safety oversight for the country’s 2.6-million-mile pipeline network, and we need out-of-the-box thinkers.”

At least 48 hours prior to submitting proposals, applicants should register on PHMSA’s Research & Development website.  Official grant applications are due via on Monday, May 18, 2015. Applicants without a login access should request registration at least two weeks ahead of the grant deadline.

In consultation with other federal and state officials as well as other stakeholders, PHMSA is specifically seeking projects that address technical gaps in the following areas:

  • Preventing and Mitigating Pipeline Corrosion – What innovative new solutions can be proposed in chemical treatments or materials to prevent or manage on-shore hazardous liquid and/ or natural gas pipeline corrosion?
  • Developing Locatable Plastic Pipelines – Excavation damage to buried pipelines can be prevented when professionals detect and mark buried utility lines; however, many plastic pipes can go undetected with current above-ground technology.  Are there effective ways to add or insert electro/mechanical/metallic material to plastic pipes to make it locatable above-ground?  How would you innovate above-ground technology to detect plastic pipes?
  • Developing Inspection Tools to Quantify Pipe Strength and Toughness – How would you develop tools to accurately quantify pipeline strength and toughness which would allow pipeline operators to better understand and manage risks?

Proposals are evaluated on their scientific merit and quality as well as the feasibility of their management plans, work tasks, budgets and schedules.  In the long run, PHMSA intends to adopt the most promising findings into its core research program for further investigation.  For more information, potential applicants should read the full grant solicitation on  Users can find the solicitation and announcement by searching with CFDA number 20.724 or Funding Opportunity Number DTPH5615SN0003.


The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration develops and enforces regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation’s 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.  Please visit for more information.


USDA will host Fellowships Webinar on April 23rd

On April 23rd from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service/Office of Capacity Building and Development will host a webinar on the availability of  U.S. based short term agricultural Fellowships offered by the Trade and Scientific Exchanges Division.  Universities under the U.S. Land Grant University system can apply to become training providers for these short term exchange activities.  This includes hosting groups or individuals from international agricultural ministries, agribusinesses, universities, and research institutes.  This webinar will provide background information on the specific Fellowships within the Trade and Scientific Exchanges Division, such as the Cochran Fellowship Program and the Norman E. Borlaug Fellowship Program, and how universities can become engaged.

Please contact Meg Durcan at or (202) 720-0431 if you would like to be added to the webinar invitation list.   A link to the webinar will be provided at a later date.


New EONS Appendices

2014 NASA EONS Solicitation New Appendix

NASA’s Office of Education is accepting new proposals under the Education Opportunities in NASA STEM (EONS) 2014 NASA Research Announcement for MUREP Other Opportunities (MOO) appendix. MOO is designed to increase the number of minorities in STEM education areas relevant to NASA and contribute to effective implementation of NASA’s educational goals and objectives using NASA’s unique assets and capabilities.  MOO also seeks to increase the number of available STEM courses and curricular pathways, while attracting, retaining, and supporting the success of students in STEM degree programs, and subsequently in NASA-related careers.

Proposals are due June 26, 2015.

For more information regarding MOO Solicitation, please visit the NASA EONS page on NSPIRES

2014 NASA EONS Solicitation New Appendix

NASA’s Office of Education is accepting new proposals under the Education Opportunities in NASA STEM (EONS) 2014 NASA Research Announcement for MUREP Educator Institutes (MEI) appendix.  MEI is designed to engage with MSI(s) to bring high performing undergraduate students, who plan to teach STEM, to NASA Centers for one week to interact with NASA missions and SMEs; engage participating future educators with NASA experts to collaborate and provide the most advanced and innovative pre-service/alternate route experiences possible; inspire future educators to help NASA communicate with students for years to come; and reach underserved and underrepresented populations and institutions.

The specific objectives of the MEIs are to engage future educators enrolled in MSIs in NASA-unique, authentic STEM experiences affiliated with NASA missions and facilitated by NASA SMEs and train these future educators in the use of evidence-based instructional practices that provide students with rich, NASA-unique STEM learning opportunities.

Proposals are due June 30, 2015.

For more information regarding MEI Solicitation, please visit the NASA EONS page on NSPIRES



How HBCUs Can Get Federal Sponsorship from the United States Department of Justice

By: Ivory A. Toldson & Amanda Washington

Over more than 150 years, HBCUs have provided students with the tools to meet the challenges of a changing world.  These institutions are hubs of opportunity that lift up Americans and instill in their students a sense of who they are and what they can become.  Their campuses are engines of economic growth and community service and proven ladders of intergenerational advancement. – President Barack Obama, 2014 Proclamation


  • Office of Justice Programs (OJP) typically makes more than 3,500 grant awards to criminal and juvenile justice organizations and victim service providers at the national, state, local, and tribal level, totaling more than $2 billion.
  • The FY 2016 Federal budget requests $154 million in additional funding for DOJ grant programs (Office of Justice Programs, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and Office on Violence Against Women), for a total grant program request of $2.7 billion.
  • In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded $40,019,662 to Institutions of Higher Education with $822,596 of the grant funding specifically awarded to HBCUs.
  • In 2014, eleven HBCUs applied to receive grant funding through Office of Justice Programs.
  • In 2014, less than 10 percent of HBCUs applied for any funding from the DOJ and less than 3 percent received funding.


Recent high profile interactions between the Black community and law enforcement officials underscore the need for criminal justice research, programs and advocacy at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) awards over $40 million to institutes of higher education, but HBCUs receive only a small percentage of this revenue. The reasons for HBCUs receiving less money are complex. Many contend that HBCUs are smaller institutions with less university personnel to deliver high quality proposals, while others identify systemic biases that may influence raters’ judgments of HBCU’s proposals.

Despite the challenges, some HBCUs have produced successful proposals to the DOJ. As an assistant professor at Southern University A & M in Baton Rouge, Dr. Ivory A. Toldson, the co-author of this article, received a grant from DOJ to study police misconduct. More recently, Howard University, Lincoln University and Elizabeth City State University received grants to address sexual violence. The purpose of this article is to provide information relevant to HBCUs who are interested in securing federal sponsorship for their research and programs through the DOJ.

This series is designed to expand Federal support of HBCU research, programs, and outreach through competitive grants and contracts. HBCUs receive approximately $287 million per year for research and development from 32 federal agencies. However, this is only a fraction of the more than $25 billion awarded to all institutions of higher education. The White House Initiative on HBCUs (WHIHBCUs) believes that increasing revenues to HBCUs from federal grants and contracts is vital to the long term sustainability of our institutions. By developing innovative proposals, working with HBCU liaisons at federal agencies and taking advantage of federal funding opportunities, HBCUs can increase the resources necessary to initiate and sustain vital programs.

The U.S. Department of Justice Overview

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) provides innovative leadership to federal, state, local, and tribal justice systems, by disseminating state-of-the art knowledge and practices across America, and providing grants for the implementation of these crime fighting strategies.  For FY 2016, President Obama requested $28.7 billion for the DOJ; an increase of approximately $2.5 billion over the previous year. The DOJ’s FY 2016 request includes 118,001 positions including 26,274 Agents, 12,519 Attorneys, 20,921 Correctional Officers, and 4,613 Intelligence Analysts. The FY 2016 budget also request $154 million in additional funding for DOJ grant programs (Office of Justice Programs, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and Office on Violence Against Women), for a total grant program request of $2.7 billion.

Specifically, FY 2016 request:

  • For OJP totals $2.7 billion, including $1.6 billion for discretionary grant programs and $1.1 billion for mandatory grant programs. It includes $427.1 million in discretionary enhancements, including increased funding for an indigent defense initiative, Second Chance Prisoner Reentry, Justice Reinvestment, and juvenile justice programs.
  • For Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) totals $303.5 million. The COPS request includes $249.5 million for the COPS Hiring Program, with $5.0 million targeted towards increasing diversity in law enforcement, and $35.0 million for Tribal Law Enforcement.
  • For the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) totals $473.5 million. OVW’s budget includes a total of $50 million in enhancements. Protecting students from sexual assault is a top priority for this Administration, and the Budget includes a $14 million increase to the Campus Violence Program to better meet the need on college campuses.

White House Initiative on HBCUs’ Liaison to the U.S. Department of Justice

As the liaison between the White House Initiative on HBCUs (WHIHBCUs) and OJP, Kevin Jenkins ( works with the WHIHBCUs to organize efforts to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs through increased participation in appropriate Federal programs and initiatives.

Specifically, Mr. Jenkins helps the WHIHBCUs to:

  1. Establish how the department or agency intends to increase the capacity of HBCUs to compete effectively for grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements and to encourage HBCUs to participate in Federal programs;
  2. Identify Federal programs and initiatives in which HBCUs may be either underserved or underused as national resources, and improve HBCUs’ participation therein; and
  3. Encourage public-sector, private-sector, and community involvement in improving the overall capacity of HBCUs.

Kevin Jenkins serves as the Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist at the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. He has been with the Department since March 2008 and has spent his entire professional career in public service working for non-profit organizations, as well as local, state, and federal government agencies, focusing on issues such as mental health, homelessness, transportation, community planning, and advocating for developmentally disabled persons in the criminal justice system.

What opportunities are there for HBCUs to compete for grants/contracts through the agency?

In fiscal year 2011, OJP made more than 3,500 grant awards to criminal and juvenile justice organizations and victim service providers at the national, state, local, and tribal level. These awards include a total of more than $2 billion to support public safety and justice initiatives in every part of the United States[i]. This federal agency offers several grant opportunities for Institutions of Higher Education to implement and strengthen innovative programs. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded $40,019,662 to Institutions of Higher Education with $822,596 of the grant funding specifically awarded to HBCUs.

Several bureaus and offices within the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs provide funding and award opportunities to Institutions of Higher Education. In the year 2014, ten HBCUs applied to receive grant funding through the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART).

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) provides the most amount of money to higher education and provides significant funding and award opportunities to HBCUs. The NIJ funds physical and social science research, development and evaluation projects about criminal justice through competitive solicitations. The focus of the solicitations varies from year to year based on research priorities and available funding[ii]. In 2014, Texas Southern University, Claflin University, Alabama State University, Bowie State University, Howard University and Clark Atlanta University applied for grants within the NIJ.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) also provides discretionary funding to organizations to implement various programs including strategic enhancement to mentoring, community initiatives to increase child safety, and programs that discourage youth gang membership. In 2014, Clark Atlanta University, Hampton University, Florida Memorial University, Alabama State University, and Dillard University applied for grants within the OJJDP.

The Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) provide jurisdictions with guidance regarding the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act, and provide technical assistance to the states, territories, Indian tribes, local governments, and to public and private organizations. The SMART Office also tracks important legislative and legal developments related to sex offenders and administers grant programs related to the registration, notification, and management of sex offenders. In 2014, Johnson C. Smith University applied for a grant with SMART.

In recent years, how successful have HBCUs been in obtaining grants/contracts from DOJ?

According to Mr. Jenkins, many HBCUs have expressed that they are unaware of the resources at the U.S. Department of Justice, and only a small percentage of HBCUs have applied for funding. Recently, Howard University, Lincoln University and Elizabeth City State University received grants to address sexual violence, with total awards ranging from $300,000 to $35,000 through the Office on Violence Against Women.

What advice does DOJ give to HBCUs in order to be more competitive in obtaining grants and contracts?

  1. Get involved. OJP is always seeking qualified individuals to join the pool of subject matter experts they call upon to review the strengths and weaknesses of applications for grant funding. More HBCU scholars should join the pool. If you are interested, start the enrollment process by e-mailing
  2. Make connections. Contact the program officer in charge of a request for proposals before starting the application. Find out about administration priorities and application imperatives. If you have difficulties identifying the program officer, contact the HBCU liaison or Ivory A. Toldson (, the Deputy Director of WHIHBCUs.
  3. Start early. Institutions should apply for grant funding early while also striving for the proposal to be collaborative, evidence-based, measured, and comprehensive. Build in an initial rejection and revision into the expected time between starting the application and getting funded.
  4. Collaborate. The U.S. Department of Justice urges Institutions of Higher Education to apply for grants as the primary fiscal agent while also identifying partnerships with local and national agencies, regional organizations and a variety of relevant affiliates.
  5. Ground your proposal in research. In addition, successful grant proposals provide in-depth scholarly work and consist of concrete action plans.
  6. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If your institution is denied grant funding, it is important to follow up with the Office of Justice Programs to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal. The agency suggests that denied applicants utilize this feedback to revise grant proposals and reapply in the next application season.


The process of obtaining a grant from the Federal Government can be daunting, but there’s only one way to guarantee that a proposal will not be funding – not to apply. Currently, the DOJ funds HBCUs at a level that is less than the average for all Federal agencies. However, this is partially attributed to the low numbers of HBCUs, which have applied. Nationally, 6 HBCUs have law schools, most have criminal justice programs and all offer classes that are relevant to law and justice. In addition, HBCUs have students and faculty members should take leadership in shaping justice-relevant research, policy and practice. In partnership, government officials and HBCUs can expand support to HBCUs through the DOJ.

Specially, the WHIHBCUs should regularly produce reports such as this, which has information regarding the agency’s HBCU liaison, background facts, funding trends, existing HBCU relationships, and agency emphasis. The WHIHBCUs should also work with Federal partners to provide technical assistance to HBCUs who are interested in applying for funding.

HBCUs should work with the President’s Board of Directors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the WHIHBCUs to identify institutional strengths and establish partnerships with federal agencies. HBCUs should also build their institutional capacity to produce competitive grants. Members of Congress can help HBCUs to network with key personnel at federal agencies. Members can also help HBCUs connect with corporate and philanthropic partners to strength collaborative efforts.

Links/Resources to Opportunities




Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the deputy director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He is currently on leave from his position as associate professor at Howard University.

Amanda Washington is an M.A. degree student in Education Policy at the EPSA department at Teacher College Columbia University. She graduated from Spelman College.

FY 2015 Funding Opportunity Announcements

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Offce of Minority Health (OMH) has FY 2015 Funding Opportuniity Annoucements available.

OMH administers grant programs to support projects that implement innovative models to improve minority health and reduce health disparities. OMH currently has four funding opporunities annoucements for which applications are being accepted. Read more.