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Defense Department awards $191 million in research funding

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it will issue 27 awards to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. The program expects to award $191 million over five years.

According to a news release from DoD Public Affairs, the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program supports research by teams of investigators who intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate research progress. The awards will be made by the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and are subject to successful negotiation between the institution and DoD.

The awards are the result of the fiscal 2011 competition that ARO, ONR, and AFOSR conducted under the DoD MURI program. Most MURI efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions and academic departments. Based on the proposals selected in the fiscal 2011 competition, a total of 70 academic institutions are expected to participate in the 27 research efforts.

The highly competitive 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 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 DoD, as well as for associated infrastructure such as research instrumentation.

The list of projects selected for fiscal 2011 funding can be found at: http://www.defense.gov/news/d20110422MURI.pdf.

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