The Academic Research Initiative seeks to advance fundamental knowledge for nuclear detection and related sciences. The initiative looks to sustain a long-term commitment to frontier academic research in the field and develop human capital for the nuclear science and engineering professions. The program leverages opportunities across the U.S. Government and coordinates with other research being supported.
The Academic Research Initiative is executed by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and was established in January, 2007. Since its inception, 77 grants have been provided to universities. Currently, the initiative is funding 37 research efforts at 34 universities in areas including materials development and supporting technology, neutron detection, radiation detection techniques, , shielded approaches, algorithm/modeling, and nuclear forensics.
Annual solicitations tend to be issued in the late winter timeframe, but may vary.
Funding Opportunity Announcements
Typically, funding opportunity announcements are issued on an annual basis during the spring time frame followed by the new awards towards the end of the summer. Included in each announcement are the specific research topics of interest in addressing grand research and development challenges.
Grant Application Evaluation Process
Each grant application will be evaluated by a diverse, complete panel of subject matter experts. They evaluate each application based on the technical approach and intellectual merit of the proposed research and how significant its transformational impact is on the DNDO mission. Further, they consider how the results of the proposed approach will impact the broader academic community to include the participation of under-represented groups and the effectiveness in fostering next generation scientists and engineers in the nuclear-related discipline.
Grantees Program Review
Each year the ARI Program holds its annual program review for all ongoing research projects. The review is an opportunity to apprise the radiological and nuclear detection community of their project technical progress and facilitate potential collaboration with National Laboratories and Industry.
In June 2014, the program review was further focused on addressing the wide-area search initiatives including a demonstration of the current available technologies. The topic discussions addressed grand challenges including the detection of shielded special nuclear material, wide-area search, and cost effective materials.