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DoD Announces Fiscal Year 2021 University Research Funding Awards

February 2021

Arlington, VA - The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced $179 million in funding awards to 25 teams that participated in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) competition. The winning teams, which represent 57 academic institutions nationwide, will receive five-year grants-contingent upon satisfactory research progress and the availability of funds-to pursue basic research that spans multiple scientific disciplines.

Since its inception in 1985, the tri-Service MURI program has convened teams of investigators with the hope that collective insights drawn from research across multiple disciplines could facilitate the advancement of newly emerging technologies and address the Department's unique problem sets. Complementing the Department's single-investigator basic research grants, the highly competitive MURI program has made immense contributions to both national defense and society at large. Notable achievements include advances in twisted 2D heterostructures for possible applications as infrared/microwave detectors; development of new theories, algorithms, and protocols to speed synthesis of novel materials, including energetics, for DoD; and atomic and molecular self-assembly projects that have opened new possibilities for nano-manufacturing. These and other innovative technological advances from the MURI program help drive and accelerate current and future military capabilities and find multiple applications in the commercial sector.

"The science and engineering challenges we face today are highly complex and often intersect more than one scientific discipline," said Dr. Bindu Nair, director of the Basic Research Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)). "MURIs acknowledge these complexities by supporting teams whose members have diverse sets of expertise as well as creative and different approaches to tackling problems. This cross-fertilization of ideas can accelerate research progress to enable more rapid R&D breakthroughs and hasten the transition of basic research finding to practical application. It's a program that embodies of DoD's legacy of scientific impact."

For the FY 2021 competition, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research solicited proposals in 26 topic areas important to DoD and the Military Services. From a merit-based review of the 298 proposals received, a panel of experts narrowed the proposals to a subset from which the 25 finalists were selected. The click here to download the list of winning teams.

About OUSD(R&E)
OUSD(R&E) is responsible for research, development, and prototyping activities across DoD to foster U.S. technological dominance and ensure the unrivaled superiority of the U.S. joint force. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter: @DoDCTO.

Office of the Under Secretary of Defense,
Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E))
3030 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3030