NSF announces new AI investments aimed at diversifying research community

The seven new AI research project awards are part of the National Science Foundation’s ExpandAI program.
The National Science Foundation building (Wikimedia Commons)

The National Science Foundation announced seven new grants for AI projects on Tuesday as part of a program to expand and diversify the research community.

Those projects include building out the research infrastructure at Texas A&M International University, with a focus on Hispanic and female students, and supporting faculty and students at Bowie State University and other Maryland-based historically Black colleges and universities to help address the underrepresentation of African Americans in the AI industry. 

“This is not just about advancing AI; it’s about ensuring that AI innovation supports and benefits the entire nation, leaving no one behind,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a release.

The grants are part of NSF’s Expanding AI Innovation through Capacity Building and Partnerships, or ExpandAI, program, which looks to fund research and education at minority-serving institutions in an effort to broaden the community involved in AI research and innovation. 


The awards come as the Biden administration has indicated it’s prioritizing diversity when it comes to hiring AI professionals in the federal government. That effort, however, runs up against an AI workforce that appears to lack diversity in terms of gender, race and ethnicity

“Through these ExpandAI awards, we are taking significant steps toward a future where AI serves the needs of all communities, not just a select few,” Panchanathan said.

Madison Alder

Written by Madison Alder

Madison Alder is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering government technology. Her reporting has included tracking government uses of artificial intelligence and monitoring changes in federal contracting. She’s broadly interested in issues involving health, law, and data. Before joining FedScoop, Madison was a reporter at Bloomberg Law where she covered several beats, including the federal judiciary, health policy, and employee benefits. A west-coaster at heart, Madison is originally from Seattle and is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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