The Department of Defense today announced 15 awards to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. The awards, totaling $105 million, are the result of the fiscal year 2013 competition conducted by the Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research under the 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 in the fiscal 2013 competition, a total of 43 academic institutions are expected to participate in these 15 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.
Army Research Office and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals in 16 topics important to the department and received a total of 193 white papers, which were followed by 43 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. Awards in six topic areas of interest to the Air Force will be announced at a later date.
The list of projects selected for fiscal 2013 funding may be found at http://www.defense.gov/news/2013MURITeams.pdf