Almost a month after the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy announced over $1 billion for the establishment of 12 new artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum information science (QIS) research institutes nationwide,  IBM announced its first IBM Quantum education and research initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

Led by Howard University and 12 additional HBCUs, the statement said the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center will offer access to its quantum computers, as well as collaboration on academic, education, and community outreach programs.

In addition, as part of the company’s continued efforts around diversity and inclusion, IBM will make a $100M investment in technology, assets, resources, and skills development through partnerships with additional HBCUs through the IBM Skills Academy Academic Initiative.

“We believe that in order to expand opportunity for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pipeline of the next generation of tech leaders from HBCUs. Diversity and inclusion is what fuels innovation and students from HBCUs will be positioned to play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud, and artificial intelligence,” said Carla Grant Pickens, Chief Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer, IBM.

The $1 billion announced by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Department of Energy will go to National Science Foundation-led AI Research Institutes hosted by universities across the country, including at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, University of Texas, Austin, University of Colorado, Boulder, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California, Davis, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The 13 HBCUs intending to participate in the Quantum Center were prioritized based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other STEM fields. They include;

• Albany State University
• Clark Atlanta University
• Coppin State University
• Hampton University
• Howard University
• Morehouse College
• Morgan State University
• North Carolina Agricultural, and Technical State University
• Southern University
• Texas Southern University
• University of the Virgin Islands
• Virginia Union University
• Xavier University of Louisiana.

“Howard University has prioritized our efforts to support our students’ pathway to STEM fields for many years with exciting results as we witness more and more graduates becoming researchers, scientists, and engineers with renowned national companies. Our faculty and students look forward to collaborating with our peer institutions through the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. We’re excited to share best practices and work together to prepare students to participate in a quantum-ready workforce,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick.

The HBCUs who are part of the Skills Academy Academic Initiative include Clark Atlanta University, Fayetteville State University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Johnson C. Smith University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Southern University System, Stillman College, Virginia State, and West Virginia State University.

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