Chapter V. Basic Research
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


2. University Research Initiative (URI)

The Office of the Secretary of Defense continues to support a portfolio of programs characterized as the University Research Initiative. The Services share these funds, nominating and investing in subject areas and activities best correlated with their research and technology needs.

A series of five-year block grant URI programs, most funded at about $400,000 per year, concluded in FY96. Over 30 university groups performed research for the Army on topics under the broad research areas of biology, advanced propulsion, materials, high frequency microelectronics, elecro-optics, nanotech-nology, energy, manufacturing science, environmental sciences, and intelligent control systems.

Since FY94, each year has seen the start of several new 5-year multidisciplinary university research initiative (MURI) programs, most funded at about $1 million per year. The MURIs typically engage two or more science/engineering departments within the university, and sometimes other academic or industrial partners. Achievements not attainable through work in a single specialty are sought. For one example, new levels of intelligence in control of rotor blades requires the collaborative expertise of investigators in mathematics and computer science as well as in the fields of aerodynamics and aerostructures. For another example, successful experiments with extremely miniature turbine engines requires the collaborative expertise of investigators in propulsion as well as in the field of manufacturing science, and perhaps others. Table V-3 lists the Army MURI centers that have been established so far. An announcement for FY97 MURI programs (i.e., those that would terminate in FY2002) has been issued, and white papers are being received.

Table V-3. Army Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Centers

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Table V-3. Army Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Centers (Continued)

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In addition to the above, the URI program supports two graduate science and engineering education programs: the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program and the Augmentation Awards for Science and Engineering Research Training Program. These programs comprise the bulk of the ongoing URI program. Other URI activities supported in FY96 included the Defense Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, the Infrastructure Support Program for HBCU/MIs, the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program, the Focused Research Initiative, and a Young Investigator Program.

In addition to the technical programs and resulting accomplishments of the URI and COE efforts, another major output from these Army-funded academic programs is the support and graduation of technical students--many of whom go on to work in Army laboratories or aligned industries.