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Air Force announces basic research awards

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research granted 7 awards to various academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research

17-06-2013: The Air Force Office of Scientific Research granted seven awards to various academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. The AFOSR awards, totaling $67.5 million, are the result of the Fiscal Year 2013 competition conducted by AFOSR, the Army Research Office, and the Office of Naval Research under the Department of Defense (DoD) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Program.

The MURI program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect several traditional science and engineering disciplines in order to accelerate research progress. Most of the program's efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions and academic departments. Based on the proposals selected by AFOSR in the fiscal 2013 competition, a total of 32 academic institutions are expected to participate in these seven research efforts.

The highly competitive MURI program complements other DoD basic research efforts that support traditional, single-investigator university research grants by supporting multidisciplinary teams with larger and longer awards, in carefully chosen research topics identified for their potential for significant and sustained progress. As with single investigator awards, MURI awards provide strong support for the education and training of graduate students in new, cutting edge research.

Over the past 25 years, DoD's MURI program has produced significant capabilities for U.S. military forces and opened up entirely new lines of research. Examples include advances in laser frequency combs that have become the gold standard in frequency control for precision in navigation and targeting; atomic and molecular self-assembly projects that have opened new possibilities for nano-manufacturing; and the field of spintronics that emerged from a MURI award on magnetic materials and devices. DoD's strategy to quickly leverage the basic research advances in MURI awards for new capabilities has focused on early engagement with industry.

AFOSR solicited proposals in seven topics of significant importance to the Air Force, and received a total of 54 white papers, which were followed by 28 proposals. The awards were selected based on merit review by a panel of experts and were subject to successful negotiation between the institution, AFOSR and DoD. The awards are for a five year period subject to availability of appropriations and satisfactory research progress. The primary award winners, their research topics and institutions involved in the respective research efforts, follow.

  • Dr. Wolfgang Ketterle, "Advanced Quantum Materials: A New Frontier for Ultracold Atoms," Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Physics.
  • Dr. Erdogan Madenci, "MURI Center for Material Failure Prediction through Peridynamics," University of Arizona, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Arizona.
  • Dr. Richard P. Van Duyne, "Electrochemical Imaging and Mechanistic Studies on the Nanometer Scale," Northwestern University, Department of Chemistry.
  • Dr. Thomas Antonsen, "Collaborative Research on Novel High Power Sources for and Physics of Ionospheric Modification," University of Maryland, Department of Physics.
  • Dr. Stephen Rand, "MURI Center for Dynamic Magneto-optics," University of Michigan, Department of Physics.
  • Dr. Demetrios Christodoulides, "PT-Symmetric Optical Materials and Structures," University of Central Florida, College of Optics & Photonics.
  • Dr. Dirk Englund, "Optimal Measurements for Scalable Quantum Technologies, " Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,
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