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University alliance receives $51.5M in funding from Defense Threat Reduction Agency

The overall goals of the alliance are rooted in shaping the future of national security | Short Read

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) has announced $51.5 million in funding for the newly formed Interaction of Ionizing Radiation with Matter University Research Alliance (IIRM-URA) program. The multidisciplinary, multi-organization team comprises 12 universities and 8 partner institutions, national laboratories, and industrial companies.

The University of Michigan (U-M) is one of four permanent university members of the IIRM-URA, along with Penn State University (PSU) which will lead the alliance, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Florida. 

The Principal Investigator at U-M is Dr. Mark Hammig of the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS). Participating Investigators from NERS include Professors David Wehe, Igor Jovanovic, Zhong He, and Fei Gao. Participating Investigators from the U-M Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS) include Professors Michael Flynn, Clayton Scott, and Stephen Rand.

The IIRM-URA will foster collaborations among leading scientists and engineers to create advancements in three research areas: 

  • Materials and radiation interactions
  • Devices and integration
  • Nuclear survivability and response

In each of these research areas, hands-on mentoring opportunities will be created for high school students as the alliance seeks to train the next-generation workforce. Specifically, the program will establish Young Investigator Awards, create student pipeline programs, and provide seed grants.

Non-permanent university members include:

  • Brigham Young University
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Northwestern University
  • FISK University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Air Force Institute of Technology
  • United States Military Academy at West Point

Institution members include:

  • Sandia National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Naval Research Laboratory
  • H3D Inc.
  • Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc.

With contributions from nuclear engineers, electrical engineers, chemists, physicists, materials engineers, and mechanical engineers, this program is certainly a multidisciplinary alliance to advance the future of national security.

“Building up the nation’s capabilities in the area of scientific research and education has never been more important,” stated U.S. Air Force Colonel Benjamin Ward, chief of DTRA’s Enabling Capabilities Research Division. “By having more scientific minds working on our projects, we can increase our ability to provide solutions to the warfighter.”

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Michigan Engineering

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