The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced plans to award 69 academic institutions $260m over the next five years to perform innovative multidisciplinary research.

The multidisciplinary university research initiative (MURI) programme supports research by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate both research progress and transition of research results to application.

Some of the research awards include: funding for synthesis, characterisation and modelling of functionally graded multifunctional hybrid composites for
extreme environments to Texas A&M University, bio inspired optics to Harvard University and hardware, languages and architecture research for defence against hostile operating systems at University of California.

The Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) will award funding based on successful negotiations between he academic institutions and the military.

The awards announced today are for a five-year period subject to availability of appropriations and satisfactory research progress. This allows for greater sustained support than single-investigator awards for the education and training of students pursuing advanced degrees in science and engineering fields critical to the DoD.

The MURI programme is highly competitive. ARO, ONR and AFOSR solicited proposals in 32 topics important to the DoD and received a total of 152 proposals. The awards were selected based on merit review by panels of experts.