TMCF and Medtronic Partner To Launch Academic R&D Grants at HBCUs

Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Medtronic partner to launch the Research & Development Engagement program
Oct 3, 2023 9:00 AM ET
Students from the 2023 TMCF immersion program visit the Medtronic Operational Headquarters campus

WASHINGTON, October 3, 2023 /3BL/ - Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is proud to partner with Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT), a global leader in healthcare technology, to launch the Research & Development Engagement program, which provides grants to support innovation, ideas, and solutions in STEM, medical technology, and business research at select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Medtronic is the sole funder of the grants, which are the latest results of a strategic partnership with TMCF to advance diversity in STEM education and career development.

"It's always great to be able to support Medtronic as it continues to raise the bar of excellence for faculty at the member schools we support,” TMCF President & CEO Dr. Harry Williams said. “The Research & Development Engagement Program is a game-changer. We are glad that Medtronic has been an intentional partner about equipping our faculty with access to opportunities to enhance their skill set, which in turn impacts our students and increases the opportunities they have to enjoy STEM careers in corporate America."

“Supporting HBCUs through the R&D Engagement Program expands access to opportunities and skill-building to students from diverse backgrounds,” said Cynthia Reese, Medtronic Director of External Partnerships and Community. “Medtronic is proud to partner with TMCF on this impactful program, as part of its commitment to achieving zero barriers to equity.”

Medtronic plc and TMCF have partnered since 2020 to develop an annual internship program across the U.S., as well as a scholarship program sponsored by the Medtronic Foundation.

For the R&D Engagement Program specifically, TMCF and Medtronic plc partnered to award five grants of $40,000 each to faculty members at TMCF member schools, with a focus in the following areas:

  • Innovative academic support that will meet the specific academic needs of STEM, medical technology, and/or business students.
  • Enhanced academic-related innovation on campus and/or the community to support adequate resources to enable the completion of groundbreaking research and development in STEM, medical technology, and/or business.
  • Other creative ideas for capacity building within Medtronic-aligned fields.

The recipients of this year’s grants are:

Dr. Stephen Knisley (North Carolina A&T, Professor of Bioengineering)

Program/Research: NIH Houston Shadowing Program.

Dr. Laquanda Leaven Johnson (North Carolina A&T, Associate Professor in Supply Chain Management)

Program/Research: Collegiate Underrepresented Business and Engineering Drone Training Intensive Program.

Dr. Ali Salmon (North Carolina A&T, Associate Professor, School of Nursing)

Program/Research: Smart and Connected Health Teaching and Research Lab.

Dr. Francis Tuluri (Jackson State, Professor, Software Engineering)

Program/Research: Academic Development of Autonomous Robotics Education to Broaden Participation in STEM Disciplines.

Dr. Zhibin Yu (Florida A&M, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering)

Program/Research: Enabling AI-Assisted Early Diagnosis of Cardiovascular Diseases with Stretchable Optical Sensors.


Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member schools include publicly supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) and Historically Black Community Colleges. Publicly supported HBCUs enroll over 80% of all students attending HBCUs. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs, and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the K-12 and higher education spaces. The organization is also a source for top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

Bold thinking. Bolder actions. We are Medtronic. Medtronic plc, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is the leading global healthcare technology company that boldly attacks the most challenging health problems facing humanity by searching out and finding solutions. Our Mission — to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life — unites a global team of 95,000+ passionate people across more than 150 countries. Our technologies and therapies treat 70 health conditions and include cardiac devices, surgical robotics, insulin pumps, surgical tools, patient monitoring systems, and more. Powered by our diverse knowledge, insatiable curiosity, and desire to help all those who need it, we deliver innovative technologies that transform the lives of two people every second, every hour, every day. Expect more from us as we empower insight-driven care, experiences that put people first, and better outcomes for our world. In everything we do, we are engineering the extraordinary. For more information on Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), visit and follow @Medtronic on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Any forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties such as those described in Medtronic's periodic reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results.