Scientific Leadership Awards


In support of the Science and Technology Directorate's mission to build a pipeline of diverse talent knowledgeable in the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of University Programs administers the Scientific Leadership Awards (SLA) for Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). SLAs fund homeland security-related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics research at MSIs and supplement existing academic institution curricula with homeland security challenges to prepare MSI students for successful careers within the homeland security enterprise. OBJECTIVESS: (1) increase the intellectual capacity, skills and talents, especially those of U.S. citizens in areas of relevance to homeland security; (2) to attract undergraduate and graduate students to obtain advanced degrees in disciplines of importance to homeland security; (3) provide advanced professional and research development opportunities for fellows, scholars and faculty in targeted areas; and (4) to increase the diversity of and highly talented cadre of new and emerging science and technology expertise working in areas of importance and need to homeland security.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Science and Technology, Department of Homeland Security
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; C - Direct Payments For Specified Use
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 Four to six universities will receive awards. Four to six universities will receive awards. Currently in the process of finalizing awards.
Fiscal Year 2017 Five universities received new awards.
Fiscal Year 2018 Five universities received continuation awards.
Fiscal Year 2019 14 homeland security-related courses developed; 120 STEM students supported; 46 students with homeland security research experience graduated
Fiscal Year 2020 Ten Minority Serving Institutions to include seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) successfully executed more than $1.7M in research and development funding in support of Homeland Security mission objectives providing critical research and experiential learning opportunities for faculty and students.
Fiscal Year 2021 Five (six awards - two at the same school) Minority Serving Institutions to include three HBCU received upwards of $470,000 each for a total of $2,810,178 in SLA funding. Performer Accomplishments: Proposal Title PI Accomplishment 1 Building Cyber Intelligence Workforce Through AI-Based Cybersecurity Education and Training Dr. Mais Nijim During FY21, a university-level cybersecurity curriculum was developed, completed all the approval channels, and started offering courses. 12 students were enrolled by the fall 2021 semester to bolster cyber intelligence workforce. Community Resilience Engaging Advanced Training and Education (C.R.E.A.T.E) Dr. Jessica Murphy During FY21, three virtual townhall meetings were held and seven videos were developed to disseminate community resiliency information and educate students and community members on disaster preparedness Increasing Awareness of Natural Disasters through the Implementation of Newly Emerging Technology in Research and Education Dr. Duanjun Lu During FY21, seven undergraduate students were recruited for the stipend/tuition scholarship and six for the summer internship program. The students represent Jackson State University (5) and Copiah-Lincoln, and the community college partner (2), as well as six different majors/disciplines, which allowed for interdisciplinary learning. UDC Homeland Security - STEM Project Dr. Angelyn Spaulding Flowers During FY21, two university-level courses were developed and offered, "Predictive Analysis in Homeland Security" (graduate course), that in addition to teaching new knowledge and skills, support the research necessary in developing a simulation tool prototype; and "Introduction to Critical Infrastructure" (undergraduate course), which incorporates virtual reality experiences and acquisition of certifications in cybersecurity, emergency management (FEMA-EMI independent study courses), and OSHA. DUST: Ultra-large Scale Miniature UV based AI Platform for Border Protection Dr. Tohid Sardarmehni During FY21, four students were recruited to learn about supervised learning, deep learning, and machine vision. Student progress was assessed through periodic qualifying exams and detailed student activity reports. The student reports demonstrated the understanding of the key AI concepts and the ability of the students to apply these concepts in UAV performance enhancement tasks, which support student contribution to the overall proposed research. Transportation Resilient Under Catastrophic Events (TRUCE) Dr. Deo Chimba During FY21, tTwo scholarship supported undergraduate students participated in summer research virtually that led to preparation of five technical papers submitted to the Transportation Review Board. During this time the research group learned about the FLEET simulation tool. This tool is helping them create different “short notice evacuation” scenarios on roadways and estimate response time in real time, which will contribute to increased transportation resiliency under catastraphiccatastrophic events.
Fiscal Year 2022 * Submitted Notice of Funding Opportunity for Scientific Leadership Award grants to support the ability of MSIs to learn techniques, build capacity, and connect with various organizations conducting business in or directly supporting homeland security mission areas * Continue supporting 6 MSIs from the 2021 SLA
Fiscal Year 2023 * Award 9 MSIs up to $1M in SLA funding to help develop and strengthen homeland security related STEM Curriculum. * Continue supporting 6 MSIs from the 2021 SLA. * Provide scholarships to qualified students majoring in STEM-related fields.
Homeland Security Act of 2002, Section 308, Public Law 107-296, 6 U.S.C. 188(b); 182(10)
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applicants must be from accredited U.S. colleges and universities defined as "minority institutions" by subsection 365 (3) of the Higher Education Act (HEA)(20 U.S.C. subsection 1067K (3)). Student applicants must be U.S. citizens studying in a STEM field relevant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's mission and objectives. US accredited MSIs are eligible to apply. Student recipients must be U.S. citizens studying in one of the following areas including: computer science, engineering, life sciences, math, physical sciences, psychology, social sciences. Students must have career and employment goals aligned with the mission and objectives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student, and Minority Serving Institution Faculty.
Not applicable.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
Award Procedure
Applications are reviewed by subject matter experts (SMEs). Awards are made based on agency priorities and available funding.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Refer to program guidance document.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Refer to the program guidance for information on criteria for selecting proposals.
How may assistance be used?
Support is provided to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to develop capacity in HS-STEM and provide financial support and career guidance to students. This support is provided in the form of cooperative agreements.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Refer to program guidance.
Grant records shall be retained for a period of 3 years from the day the recipient submits its final expenditure report. If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, or other action involving the records has been started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records must be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arise from it, or until the end of the regular 3-year period, whichever is later. Grant records include financial and program/progress reports, support documents, statistical records, and other documents that support the activity and/or expenditure of the recipient or sub-recipient under the award.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Refer to program guidance. Payment based on Project need.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Gregory Simmons
245 Murray Lane, Building 410, Mail Stop 0217
Washington, DC 20523 US
Phone: (202) 254-5631
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 22$0.00; FY 23 est $8,968,459.00; FY 24 est $0.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Refer to program guidance.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Not applicable.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


Federal Grants Resources