North Carolina Central University was recently announced as the first historically black university to join the Triad Universities Nuclear Laboratory research consortium, a collection of researchers which manage particle accelerators for academic and scientific development.
According to the News & Observer, NCCU will join Duke University, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University has the managing institutions for the project.
Officials say NCCU’s formal connection to the lab has been years in the making, as NCCU math and physics faculty have made significant contributions to the center’s work.
Duke provost Sally Kornbluth noted that the ties between TUNL and N.C. Central developed from the ground up.
“It’s impossible to top-down invent these things,” she said, adding that Duke’s interested in working with NCCU on other fronts. “You really have to recognize the things that are growing organically and then formalize the understanding.”
NCCU officials say they will expand the lab’s capacity to compete for national grants, and to send trained physicists out to other research roles around the country.
“The thing we put on the table was our students, our faculty and our broadening of the intellectual capacity of TUNL,” (NCCU Math and Physics Professor Mohammad) Ahmed said, adding that NCCU’s presence also should mean the lab “inherently has more resources” via the research grants that professors who work there secure to fund their projects.