14 Apr 17. The Department of Defense (DoD) will issue 23 awards totaling $163m to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. The awards are for a five year period, subject to satisfactory research progress and the availability of funds.
“The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program, or MURI, supports research by funding teams of investigators that include more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate the research progress,” said Dale Ormond, principal director for research in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. “Most of the program’s efforts involve researchers from multiple academic institutions and academic departments.” Ormond also stated that, “MURI awards also support the education and training of graduate students in new, cutting-edge research.”
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 and timely research topics identified for their long-term importance, DoD and the military services enhance the potential for significant and sustained advancement of the research in critical areas. The Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals in 23 topic areas important to the DoD and the military services. In response to the initial solicitation the department received 315 white papers. After two rounds of merit-based reviews, a panel of DoD experts narrowed the proposals to 89 from which the 23 final awards were selected. Based on the proposals selected in the 2017 competition, 55 U.S. academic institutions are expected to participate in 2017 MURI program. Over the past 30 years, DoD’s MURI program resulted in significant capabilities for our military forces and opened up entirely new lines of research. Notable examples include foundations in artificial intelligence, compressive sensing and automated scene recognition, ultracold atoms and advanced sensing and navigation, advances in optoelectronics and mid-infrared imaging technology, and direct brain-computer communication. These and other important technological advances from the MURI program have impact on current and future military capabilities as well as multiple applications in the commercial sector. (Source: US DoD)
13 Apr 17. Frustrated Selva to Congress: Give us a budget. A visibly frustrated Gen. Paul Selva, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for Congress to pass a budget before the end of the month, even if it is simply a return to what the Pentagon asked for at the start of fiscal year 2017.
Selva made his concerns about the budget situation clear in both tone and words, telling an audience hosted by the Air Force Association that unless Congress can come together and make decisions, “we will no longer have the authority to spend money to defend the nation.”
“There’s a little part of me that says ‘I don’t even care what size it is. Just give us a budget,’” Selva continued. “I do actually care what the amount is, but if you’re going to play politics with the administration’s request for additional funds, give us the budget you said you were going to nearly a year ago, when we started the debate over the ‘17 budget. Just give us a budget.
“If it has to be subject to the Budget Control Act because that’s the law of the land, then make it so and get it the hell over with,” he added.
The government has been operating under a continuing resolution, which locks funding levels in at the previous year’s numbers, since the fiscal year began in October. This marks the first time in U.S. history a new administration has taken power under a CR. The current CR expires April 28, which means lawmakers must finalize a budget by then, extend the CR for longer, or