If someday you’re eating your beloved peanuts and they don’t spark an allergic reaction, think about innovation at an HBCU. Or if your vehicle, supported by an artificial intelligence valet system, can find its own parking space and avoid collisions, think once again about innovation occurring at an HBCU.

Those represent two colorful examples among a chest of accomplishments of technological innovation occurring on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Statistics show that the 105 U.S. institutions with that designation produce 23 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, 13 percent of all master’s degrees and 20 percent of all first professional degrees earned each year by African-American students.

- Advertisement -

“HBCUs conduct research in many areas of national and global importance, and HBCU faculty and students are advancing solutions to breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease,” said John Michael Lee Jr., who was appointed vice president of the Office for Access and Success for the Advancement of Public Black Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, by the Washington, D.C -based Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in September 2012.

Lee said the pace of innovation at HBCUs has grown steadily since the mid-2000s, noting that before 1970, no HBCU-affiliated inventor had received a patent for an invention, but more than 100 patents have been issued since that time, including 17 in 2012.

The expectation is that HBCU campuses will be as robust as majority institutions in spawning an expanding roster of students, researchers, scientists and inventors tinkering in labs at HBCU campuses, perhaps someday mirroring the accomplishments of legendary African-American inventors like Granville Woods, Garrett A. Morgan and George Washington Carver, and contemporaries like Mark Dean, Lonnie G. Johnson and James E. West.

With peanuts, agricultural researchers at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, North Carolina, began developing a process in 2007 for cost effectively removing allergens from the popular food. Peanut allergies, which can cause health issues ranging from hives on the skin, difficult digestion and breathing and conditions like anaphylaxis that can be deadly, afflict millions of people worldwide. read more…