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Department of Defense news release (May 25, 2006): grants to accelerate research efforts.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Air Force Office of Scientific Research has awarded two Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program grants to Arizona State University, totaling about $9 million, potentially, over the next five years. The university is one of eight to receive more than one research award.

The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program is a multi-agency Defense Department program that supports research teams whose efforts intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline.

Multidisciplinary team efforts can accelerate research progress in areas particularly suited to this approach by cross-fertilization of ideas, hasten the transition of basic research findings to practical applications, and can help to train students in science and/or engineering in areas of importance to the Defense Department.

Air Force Capt. Clark Allred, program manager in the Aerospace and Materials Directorate at Air Force Office of Scientific Research, believes the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program is a wonderful way to pump a lot of money into research areas of key importance to the Air Force.

"Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives are important because they can give a program a critical mass by way of a large chunk of money that is given all at once," said Allred.

At Arizona State University, the research grant money will support basic research efforts at the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Fulton school team will use a maximum of $6 million from the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative funds to conduct a major aerospace research project to support development work in advanced sensor systems for aircraft.

Their goal is to establish a sensor system that can better assess the structural health of aircraft.

Meanwhile, a team of faculty and graduate students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences could receive as much as $2.6 million to develop cost-saving lasers using a new breed of silicon-based semiconductors.

Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Fulton School Aditi Chattopadhyay is the principal investigator on the aerospace project. Her team plans to improve the accuracy of risk assessment and aircraft life-span estimates.

By doing so, Chattopadhyay hopes to save the Air Force money in the long run by reducing operation and maintenance costs of the current Air Force fleet.

The fusion of science and vision is what makes the Air Force Office of Scientific Research mission so crucial to the future success of the Air Force.

Air Force Col. Jeff Turcotte, deputy director of Air Force Office of Scientific Research, said the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative supported aerospace research at Arizona State University complements the Air Force Office of Scientific Research mission.

"Robust and reliable health monitoring of aircraft concepts are key to reducing future fleet maintenance costs and timelines," said Turcotte. "We have a long way to go before realizing these benefits, but we believe this team at Arizona State University can start us off on a long stride."

The laser project team will use some breakthrough silicon materials discovered by a former Arizona State University chemistry graduate student, to continue years of collaboration and to put several recent discoveries into practice.

Principal Investigator and Arizona State University physics professor Jose Menendez believes this funded research will lead to the development of very cost-effective, high-performance infrared lasers with widespread military and commercial applications for sensing and communications.

Crawley is with Air Force Office of Scientific Research Public Affairs.
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Title Annotation:Acquisition & Logistics Excellence
Author:Crawley, Erin
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:568
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