RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- The U.S. Army awarded grants to eight academic teams from diverse scientific fields to develop disruptive solutions to some of the most promising challenges important to Army modernization.
The teams will study topics including adversarial machine learning, quantum state engineering, plasma driven solution electrochemistry and mechanical adaptive topologies.
The awards are a part of the Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, known as MURI. Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command's Army Research Laboratory, represents the Army's portion of the MURI program.
The awards are typically funded at $1.25 million per year for three years with an option for two additional years and supports research teams whose efforts intersect more than one traditional scientific and engineering discipline.
"MURI's provide an opportunity for experts from across disciplines to come together to solve significant scientific challenges," said Dr. Barton H. Halpern, Army Research Office director. "These research efforts enable the development of defense technologies critical to national defense that also have commercial applications."
Since its inception in 1985, the tri-service MURI program has successfully convened teams of investigators to combine insights from multiple disciplines to both facilitate the growth of newly emerging technologies and address DOD's unique problem sets.
The highly competitive MURI program complements the department's single-investigator basic research grants and has made immense contributions to both defense and society at large. For example, a MURI led to the development of optical materials that can be designed to have properties not possible with conventional optics, called transformative optics. The potential long-term applications are extensive, and may one day rival the impact of the laser. Future DOD applications include ultra-thin and lightweight optical elements replacing heavy, bulky glass optics for technologies such as gun sights, satellites, and other imaging systems, as well as more efficient energy harvesting, or enhanced detector sensitivity.
This year, the eight projects funded through the Army Research Office include:
• Robust Concept Learning and Lifelong Adaptation against Adversarial Attacks, Dr. Insup Lee, University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
• Implementation of axion electrodynamics in topological films and devices, Dr. Norman Peter Armitage, Johns Hopkins University in collaboration with researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; North Carolina State University; Rutgers; The State University of New Jersey; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of Pennsylvania
• Endosymbiont Control and Enhancement of Leafhopper Brochosomes, Dr. Jeffrey Barrick, University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with researchers at Northwestern University; and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• A Multimodal Approach to Network Information Dynamics, Dr. Cedric Langbort, University of Illinois in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University
• Toward Mathematical Intelligence and Certifiable Automated Reasoning: From Theoretical Foundations to Experimental Realization, Dr. Arthur Jaffe, Harvard University in collaboration with researchers at University of California at Santa Barbara and Johns Hopkins University
• Robust Entanglement-Enhanced Metrology with Atoms and Solid-State Spins, Dr. Monika Schleier-Smith, Stanford University in collaboration with researchers at California Institute of Technology; University of California Santa Barbara; University of Chicago and University of California Berkeley
• Plasma Driven Solution Electrochemistry, Dr. Peter Bruggeman, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis in collaboration with researchers at University of Michigan and Northwestern University
• Triggering Outstanding Properties via Mechanical Adaptive Topologies (TOPMAT): Towards Dynamically Self-Amplifying Omniphoric Multiscale Metamaterials, Dr. Nicholas Boechler, University of California-San Diego in collaboration with researchers at University of Wisconsin -- Madison; Duke University; University of Chicago and University of Michigan
For the fiscal 2020 competition, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals in 26 areas important to DOD and the military services. From a merit-based review of the 365 proposals received, a panel of experts narrowed the proposals to a subset from which the 26 final awards were selected. The awards will be provided to these teams located across 52 U.S. academic institutions, subject to satisfactory research progress and the availability of funds.
CCDC Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army's corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.