Military & Veterans News

DoD Announces Five DESI Awards for University-Industry Collaborations

U.S. Department of Defense

The Department of Defense announced the selection of five university-industry teams for the Defense Enterprise Science Initiative (DESI). DESI is a pilot program supporting university-industry research collaboration focused on accelerating the impact of basic research on defense capabilities.  

DESI’s goals are twofold. First, it seeks to foster sustainable university-industry partnerships to identify and apply new discoveries and knowledge on existing capabilities and address technological gaps. DESI also aims to charter a new pathway to accelerate the transfer of basic research to innovative technologies and complement the Department’s other basic research programs such as the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship, the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), and the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP).

“Programs like DESI are vital to foster collaboration in the research ecosystem and accelerate the transition of ground-breaking basic science to transformative capabilities,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, Deputy Director for Basic Research. “I look forward to seeing how these teams can help us address our unique and challenging defense problem sets.” 

The awarded teams were selected from five topical areas: power beaming, highly-maneuverable autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), soft active composite materials, metamaterial-based antennas, and an alternate topics section for innovative proposals unaligned to the defined themes.   Each team will receive up to $1.5 million over two years to further fundamental knowledge and understanding in the context of end-use applications

FY18 DESI Topics and Teams
Topic Team

Power Beaming 
(Topic Chief: Dr. Jason Marshall, Air Force)

Lead: The Boeing Company 
Arizona State University 
Syracuse University

Highly‐maneuverable autonomous UAVs 
(Topic Chief: Dr. Jean-Luc Cambier, Air Force)

Lead: Stanford University 

Soft Active Composites with Intrinsic Sensing, Actuation, and Control 
(Topic Chief, Dr. Samuel Stanton, Army)

Lead: Northwestern University 
TERA-print, LLC

Metamaterial-based Antennas 
(Topic Chief: Dr. Harold Weinstock, Air Force)

Lead: Duke University 
University of Washington 
Northrop Grumman

Alternate Topics Encouraged 
(Topic Chief: Dr. Stacie Williams, Air Force)

Lead: Stanford University 
University of California, Merced 
Visor Corporation


DESI is sponsored by the Basic Research Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research administers the program in collaboration with the Army Research Office.

For more information on the Basic Research Office, please visit:

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