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Binghamton University, part of the State University of New York system, and six historically Black colleges and universities have launched a research alliance in collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a membership organization representing public HBCUs, according to a press release from Binghamton.

The participating HBCUs are Alabama A&M University, Central State University, Tuskegee University, Prairie View A&M University, the University of the District of Columbia and Virginia State University.

Faculty members and students across the institutions will participate in joint research initiatives on a range of topics, including artificial intelligence, data science, cybersecurity, biomedical engineering, health care and agriculture. Scholars from the different institutions can serve as visiting professors and spend sabbaticals on each other’s campuses, and students can take advantage of joint opportunities, such as internship programs.

One goal of the partnership is to help the HBCUs continue working toward a high-research Carnegie classification by giving them access to shared lab space and research equipment to enhance their research efforts.

“Binghamton has a reputation of being a great research university, and some of our HBCUs are on the verge of becoming great in some areas,” N. Joyce Payne, founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said in the release. “This was a prime opportunity to bring the two communities together to start the conversation.”

The partnership is also intended to foster a pipeline of graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in engineering and computer science careers.

“We are approaching this in the sense of true collaboration—we’re equal partners in this, each bringing our own strengths and our own weaknesses, our own needs and our own aspirations,” Donald Hall, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Binghamton, said in the release. “I think that bodes well for the future.”