Rice University, Texas Southern University (TSU) and the University of Houston (UH) have won a multimillion-dollar grant to help increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing academic careers in engineering and science.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for $2.66 million over five years is part of its Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program, which seeks to “advance knowledge about models to improve pathways to the professoriate and success” for historically underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines.

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The award is specifically for those in data engineering and data science disciplines. It will fund a project to be called AGEP STRIDES (Strengthening Training and Resources for Inclusion in Data Engineering and Sciences).

“Even in this day and age, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in engineering faculty is nowhere near what it can be,” says Hanadi Rifai, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate dean of research and facilities at UH’s Cullen College of Engineering.

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