SIAM News Blog

Funding Opportunity: DOD Releases FY 2020 MURI BAA

On March 1, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the broad agency announcement (BAA) for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), as part of the larger University Research Initiative (URI) aimed at institutions of higher education. The MURI program remains one of the signature DOD research programs for the university community and stands as the benchmark for building a defense-oriented research capability on campus.

This year’s 26 topics are provided from the Navy, Army, and Air Force basic research offices. Of note, the Office of Naval Research has two more topics than last year. FY 2020 MURI topics include:

Office of Naval Research

  1. Stimuli-Responsive Materials based on Triggered Polymer Depolymerization
  2. Quantum Benefits without Quantum Fragility: The Classical Entanglement of Light
  3. Mathematical Methods for Deep Learning
  4. Spin and Orbital Angular Momentum (SAM & OAM)
  5. Photonic High-Order Topological Insulators (PHOTIs)
  6. Active Topological Mechanical Metamaterials
  7. Harvesting Oxygen from the Ocean
  8. Exploring Oxidation and Surface Phenomena of Multi-Principal Element Alloys
  9. The Physics of High-Speed Multiphase-flow / Material Interactions
  10. Combining Disparate Environmental Data Into a Common Framework

Army Research Office (ARO)

  1. Adaptive and Adversarial Machine Learning
  2. Axion Electrodynamics beyond Maxwell's Equations
  3. Engineering Endosymbionts to Produce Novel Functional Materials
  4. Information Exchange Network Dynamics
  5. Mathematical Intelligence: Machines with More Fundamental Capabilities
  6. Quantum State Engineering for Enhanced Metrology
  7. Solution Electrochemistry without Electrodes
  8. Stimuli-Responsive Mechanical Metamaterials

Air Force Office of Scientific Research

  1. Machine Learning and Physics-Based Modeling and Simulation
  2. Fundamental Design Principles for Engineering Orthogonal Liquid-Liquid Phase Separations in Living Cells
  3. Modeling, Prediction, and Mitigation of Rare and Extreme Events in Complex Physical Systems Topic
  4. Fundamental Limits of Controllable Waveform Diversity at High Power
  5. Full Quantum State Control at Single Molecule Levels
  6. Constructive Mathematics and Its Synthetic Concepts from Type Theory
  7. Weyl Fermion Optoelectronics
  8. Mechanisms of Ice Nucleation and Anti-Icing Constructs

Similar to previous years, topics centered on materials, quantum sciences (one in each service), and neuroscience are presented with less emphasis on biology/bio-inspired basic research. Like last year’s BAA, there is a continued emphasis by all three Services on mathematical models and computational approaches to provide theory and understanding to complex physical processes as well as fundamentals for machine learning and artificial intelligence (new). Topics in chemistry by all three Services and physics by the Air Force are new for FY 2020. DOD encourages faculty to engage with the Research Topic Chiefs assigned to each topic area (see section II.I) through the white paper process to assess the feasibility of proposed topics. Topics listed above describe the focus areas important to each Service and are not meant to restrict the possible directions awarded research could take.

Letters of Intent: Not required. Prospective awardees are encouraged to submit white papers to minimize the labor and cost associated with the production of detailed full proposals.

Time Line for Submission:

  • Questions regarding white papers are due on May 24, 2019
  • White papers are due on June 3, 2019, at 11:59 PM ET
  • Notification of evaluations of white papers will be on June 19, 2019
  • Questions regarding full proposals are due by August 30, 2019
  • Full proposals are due on September 13, 2019, at 11:59 PM ET
  • Notification of selection for awards will be made on February 1, 2020
  • Grants will start on May 1, 2020

Total Funding and Award Size: DOD expects $180 million to be made available, pending out-year appropriations. Individual awards are expected to be $1.25 to $1.5 million per year for a base period of three years, with the option to extend the grant for an additional two years, bringing the total maximum term of the award to five years.

Eligibility and Limitations: The competition is open to U.S. institutions of higher education, including DOD institutions of higher education, with degree-granting programs in science, mathematics, or engineering. While industry, DOD laboratories, and foreign universities may not receive funding, DOD encourages universities to collaborate with entities focused on applied and transitional research for potential commercial applications of MURI-funded research.

Sources and Additional Background:

  • The full FY 2020 MURI solicitation issued by each military Service is available at by searching “N00014-19-S-F005” (Navy), “W911NF-19-S-0008” (Army), and “# FOA-AFRLAFOSR-2019-0002” (Air Force).
  • Additional information on MURI and DOD’s basic research efforts is available at
— Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC
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