The Department of Defense (DoD) today announced plans to award 69 academic institutions $260 million over the next five years to perform multidisciplinary basic research. Awards are subject to the successful completion of negotiations between the academic institutions and the DoD research offices that will make the awards: the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).
The awards are the result of the fiscal 2009 competition that ARO, ONR, and AFOSR conducted under the DoD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. The MURI program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate both research progress and transition of research results to application. Most MURI efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions and academic departments. Based on the proposals selected in the fiscal 2009 competition, a total of 69 academic institutions are expected to participate in 41 research efforts.
The MURI program complements other DoD basic research programs that support traditional, single-investigator university research by supporting multidisciplinary teams with larger and longer awards. The awards announced today are for a five year period subject to availability of appropriations and satisfactory research progress. Consequently, MURI awards can provide greater sustained support than single-investigator awards for the education and training of students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering fields critical to the DoD, as well as for associated infrastructure such as research instrumentation.
The MURI program is highly competitive. ARO, ONR, and AFOSR solicited proposals in 32 topics important to the DoD and received a total of 152 proposals. The awards announced today were selected based on merit review by panels of subject matter experts.