National Consortium Aims to Increase URM STEM Participation in the Air Force

The Air Force Research Laboratory Minority Leaders Research Collaborative Program (AFRL ML RCP or “Minority Leaders Program”) seeks to engage with Minority Serving Institutions to increase the federal research funding you receive, particularly Department of Defense funding.

This program has existed in previous iterations, and you may have heard it simply referred to as the “Minority Leaders Program” or MLP. In 2020, the Ohio State University became the coordinating body for this program.  The AFRL cooperative agreement will be awarding project efforts between $50K-$250K, with funds intended to primarily support research at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

The primary objective of this program is to increase the number of federal awards MSI’s receive, thereby strengthening your partnership with ARFL. Participation has numerous benefits for your institution:

  • Funding opportunities for faculty & increased research revenue for the institution
  • Strengthened relationships with AFRL & partner academic institutions
  • Research & educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Paid summer internships at AFRL sites for invited students
  • Exposure to potential federal employers for students
  • Professional development opportunities for students, faculty, and administration; including but not limited to: student professional skills workshops, insight for faculty on applying to federal funders, administrative network for best practices handling DoD funding
  • Increased involvement of underrepresented groups in STEM conducting research and availability for funding to pursue advanced degrees in STEM disciplines

Participation at an institutional level primarily involves commitment to the mission of the AFRL ML-RCP, which requires signing a standard agreement unrelated to funding. There is no cost to your institution to join this collaborative research program and access the above benefits. Financial support comes in the form of research funds awarded to faculty who have submitted research proposals to AFRL for ML-RCP funding.  

If this sounds like something that your institution may benefit from, I would like to request a meeting with you and any relevant administrators, such as your Dean of Research, Graduate Studies, Director of Sponsored Programs & Export Control, etc., to discuss how the Minority Leaders Program can meet some of your institutional needs and increase access to research funding.

We plan to formalize the relationship with our first cohort of MSI’s within weeks. AFRL is eager to begin engaging with scholars on selected research topics, and funds are immediately available. Additional information on the program is available in the attachment provided by AFRL.

Please let me know if you are interested in learning more and your availability for a 45 minute introductory meeting to further discuss the partnership. We welcome you to invite other colleges/school deans with STEM disciplines so that we may work to build a comprehensive partnership from the start.

You may access the press release for the ARFL collaborative agreement at:

Brooke Lynn Felts, MPA
Ohio State University
Assistant Director, AFRL Minority Leaders Research Collaboration Program
College of Engineering Office of Graduate Education
0061 Page Hall, 1810 College Rd N., Columbus, OH 43210
614-688-2818 Office /