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Academic Research Initiative


The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office was established in December 2017 by consolidating primarily the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, a majority of the Office of Health Affairs, as well as other DHS elements.

For current information related to CWMD, please visit the following:

The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office’s Academic Research Initiative (ARI) is a university grants program that seeks to advance fundamental knowledge in nuclear detection and related sciences.  The initiative advances knowledge in these fields by sponsoring frontier academic research and also develops human capital by providing research opportunities for students and faculty in nuclear science and engineering professions.  Since its inception in 2007 the initiative has awarded 92 grants to universities.

Areas of Emphasis

Currently the initiative funds 46 research efforts at 34 universities in the following areas:

  • Radiation detector materials development and supporting technology;
  • Radiation detection concepts, approaches, and techniques;
  • Shielded Special Nuclear Material detection, source development and signature technology;
  • Advanced analytics and data processing; and
  • Nuclear forensics.

Annual solicitation is released in the late winter timeframe.

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) Announcements

Typically, funding opportunity announcements are issued on an annual basis followed by the new awards issued towards the end of the summer.  Each NOFO includes the specific research topics of interest to address the DHS-DNDO grand challenges.

Grant Application Evaluation Process

Each grant application will be evaluated by a diverse panel of subject matter experts.  Reviewers will 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, reviewers will take into consideration 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 for the grantees to showcase their research, get constructive feedback from DNDO’s Program Managers, foster collaboration with other grantees and members of the national laboratories and industries.

In July 2015, the program review was further focused on engaging the national laboratories for further technical support and collaboration.  The topic discussions addressed grand challenges including the detection of shielded special nuclear material, wide-area search, and cost effective materials.

Publication References

A list of publications that resulted from grants sponsored by DNDO’s ARI program can be found here.

Additional information

  • NOFOs are posted on http://www.grants.gov/
  • For general inquiries or for information regarding the annual ARI program review, please contact dndo.ari@hq.dhs.gov.
  • For current ongoing research activities under the ARI program, please see the ARI Fact Sheet below.
Attachment Ext. Size Date
ARI Fact Sheet PDF 208.84 KB
Last Updated: 05/19/2022
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