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Department of Defense Awards $149 Million in Research Funding

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Release No: NR-210-15
June 2, 2015
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The Department of Defense (DOD) today announced it will issue 22 awards totaling $149 million over the next five years to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline 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 in the fiscal year 2015 competition, a total of 55 academic institutions are expected to participate in these 22 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. Like single investigator awards, MURI awards provide strong support for the education and training of graduate students in new, cutting edge research. In addition to university research, DOD also supports basic research at its laboratories and in industry.

Over the past 29 years, the DOD's MURI program has resulted in significant capabilities for our 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 selfassembly projects that have opened new possibilities for nano-manufacturing; the field of spintronics emerged from a MURI award on magnetic materials and devices research. Recently the strategy to quickly leverage the basic research advances in MURI awards for new capabilities has focused on early engagement with industry through the annual Office of the Secretary of Defense MURI program reviews.

The Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals in 19 topics important to DOD and the military services and received a total of 289 white papers, which were followed by 76 proposals. The awards were selected based on merit review by a panel of experts and are subject to successful negotiation between the institution and DOD. The awards announced today are for a five year period subject to availability of appropriations and satisfactory research progress.

This year for the first time, topical areas were identified for joint U.S.-United Kingdom academic collaborative proposals, with the UK collaborators funded by the UK government. The competitive process resulted in two joint U.S.-UK teams selected for awards.

The list of projects selected for fiscal year 2015 funding may be found here.