Public Release:  AFOSR awards grants to 48 scientists and engineers through its Young Investigator Research Program

Air Force Office of Scientific Research

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research announced it will award approximately $18 million in grants to 48 scientists and engineers who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program.

The YIP is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

This year AFOSR received 220 proposals in response to the AFOSR broad agency announcement solicitation in major areas of interest to the Air Force. These areas include: aerospace, chemical and material sciences; physics and electronics; and mathematics, information and life sciences. AFOSR officials select proposals based on the evaluation criteria listed in the broad agency announcement. Those selected will receive the grants over a 3 to 5-year period.

The recipients and their anticipated research areas are:

  • Pieter Abbeel, University of California, Berkeley, Apprenticeship Learning for Robotic Control
  • Kramer Akli, The Ohio State University, Toward A Table-top Laser-driven XUV/X-ray Source
  • Rae Anderson, University of San Diego, Elucidating the molecular dynamics, conformations, and interactions occurring in complex entangled biopolymer systems via novel single-molecule techniques
  • Zeb Barber, Montana State University, Synthetic Aperture Ladar Imaging and Atmospheric Turbulence
  • Jesse Barezovsky, Case Western Reserve University, Coupling photonics and coherent spintronics for low-loss flexible optical logic
  • Riccardo Bevilacqua, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Propellant-free Spacecraft Relative Maneuvering via Atmospheric Differential Drag
  • Bryan Boudoris, Purdue University, Molecular Design and Device Application of Radical Polymers for Improved Charge Extraction in Organic Photovoltaic Cells
  • Paola Cappellaro, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Modular Paradigm for Scalable Quantum Information
  • James Caverlee, Texas A&M/Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Detecting, Analyzing, Modeling, and Predicting Strategic Manipulation and Adversarial Propaganda in Social Media
  • Zhilei Chen, Texas A&M/Texas Engineering Experiment Station, A self-assembling protein hydrogel technology for enzyme incorporation onto electrodes in biofuel cells
  • Stephen Chong, Harvard University, Integrating Programming Language and Operating System Information Security Mechanisms
  • Michael Clarkson, The George Washington University, Making Cybersecurity Quantifiable
  • Tanja Cuk, The University of California, Berkeley, In-Situ UV-VIS and IR Spectroscopy of Water Oxidation on Transition Metal Oxide Catalysts
  • Samantha Daly, University of Michigan, New Approach Towards Characterizing Microstructural Influence on Material Behavior Under Very High Cycle Fatigue
  • Kaushik Dayal, Carnegie Mellon University, A Multiscale Approach for Complex Functional Materials and Nanostructure
  • Morteza Dehghani, University of Southern California, Examining the role of religiosity in moral cognition, specifically in the formation of sacred values, and researching computational models for analyzing sacred rhetoric and its consequential emotions
  • Laurent Demanet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New Algorithms and Sparse Regularization for Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging
  • Hui Deng, University of Michigan, Quantum Photonic in Hybrid Cavity Systems with Strong Matter-Light Couplings
  • Aleksander Donev, New York University, Stochastic Simulation of Complex Fluid Flows
  • Audrey Ellerbee, Stanford University, Self-Powered Optical Spectroscopy
  • Aaron Esser-Kahn, University of California, Irvine, Microvascular Structures for Mass and Energy Transport
  • Christopher Fallen, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Determining energy distributions of HF-accelerated electrons at HAARP
  • Gregory Fuchs, Cornell University, Spatiotemporal Imaging of Magnetization Dynamics at the nanoscale: Breaking the Diffraction Limit
  • Anya Jones, University of Maryland, Lift Production on Flapping and Rotary Wings at Low Reynolds Numbers
  • Adrian Lee, University of Washington, An integrated neuroscience and engineering approach to classifying human brain-states
  • Wen Li, Wayne State University, Attosecond Electronic Dynamics Probed Using an EUV-Pump-EUV-Probe Technique
  • Mo Li, University of Minnesota, Exploiting Repulsive and Attractive Optical Forces in Advanced Nanophotonic Systems
  • Jesse Little, University of Arizona, Thermal Mechanisms for High Amplitude Aerodynamic Flow Control
  • Liping Liu, Rutgers University, Designing Microstructures/Structures for Desired Functional Material and Local Fields
  • Boon Loo, University of Pennsylvania, A Unified Algebraic and Logic-based Framework towards Safe Routing Implementations
  • Jason Marden, University of Colorado, Boulder, Game Engineering: A Multiagent Systems Perspective
  • Ashlie Martini, University of California, Merced, Atomic-Scale Tuning of Layered Binary Metal Oxides for High Temperature Moving Assemblies
  • Sayan Mitra, University of Illinois, Verification Engines for Hybrid Networks
  • Rajesh Nadakuditi, University of Michigan, Random matrix theoretic approaches to sensor fusion for sensing and surveillance in highly cluttered environments
  • Bradley Olsen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thin Film Self-Assembly of Globular Protein-Polymer Diblock Copolymers for Nanostructured Biofunctional Materials
  • Peter Pauzauskie, University of Washington, Laser Refrigeration of Optically-Insulated Cryophotonic Nanocrystals
  • Rodney Priestley, Princeton University, Characterization of Nanostructured Polymer Films
  • Jingmei Qiu, University of Houston, A High Order Multi-scale Numerical Approach for Kinetic Simulations
  • Ricardo Sanfelice, University of Arizona, Robust Feedback Control of Reconfigurable Multi-agent Systems in Uncertain Adversarial Environments
  • Christopher Schuetz, University of Delaware, Ultrabroadband Phased-array Receivers Based on Optical Techniques
  • Vanessa Sih, University of Michigan, Electrically-generated spin polarization in non-magnetic semiconductors
  • Ao Tang, Cornell University, Non-adaptive End-to-end Diagnosis for Complex Networks
  • Alexander Thomas, University of Michigan, Understanding Intense Laser Interactions with Solid Density Plasma
  • Ufuk Topcu, California Institute of Technology, Formal Synthesis of Software-Based Control Protocols for Fractionated, Composable Autonomous Systems
  • Greg Ver Steeg, University of Southern California, Bell Inequalities for Complex Networks
  • David Weld, University of California, Santa Barbara, Quantum Simulation and Quantum Sensing with Ultracold Strontium
  • Junfeng Yang, Columbia University, Concurrency Attacks and Defenses
  • Enlu Zhou, University of Illinois, Dynamic Decision Making under Uncertainty and Partial Information


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