WASHINGTON As concern grows over declining spending on basic research and development, the Pentagon announced it will commit another $400 million over the next five years to back academic research.
While DoD said the funds will support basic research, at least some will be earmarked for specific military requirements like countering weapons of mass destruction. Other areas expected to be funded include energy and power management, advanced networks,
quantum computing and what DoD calls "information fusion and decision science."
"These new grants will lead to discoveries in fundamental fields which underpin many of the technologically complex systems fielded in today's armed forces," William Rees, Jr., deputy
undersecretary of defense for laboratories and basic sciences, said in a statement announcing the research initiative.
Project funding will begin in fiscal 2009, and DoD said grants will support individual investigators and "a cadre of graduate students working with [a] faculty member." Electrical engineering and materials science are among the areas expected to be funded.
The DoD research grants will be administered by the Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
Also last week, DoD announced it will add two new engineering fellows to its National Security Science and Engineering Faculty program. The new fellows are Constance Chang-Hasnain of University of California, Berkeley and Margaret Murnane of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Announced in June, the program now includes eight research fellows. Each receives up to $3 million in direct research support for up to five years.
The program is designed to support long-term, unclassified, basic research, Rees said.
Separately, Chicago-based Priva Technologies Inc., working with the Defense Department, said it has completed the design for a next-generation chip designed to protect data on portable devices like cellphones and laptops. The new security chip is specifically designed to protect stored data, Priva said in announcing the design.
Priva's chip "provides tamper protection, simplifies integration to other devices and strengthens security for encryption key storage and authentication," Mark Krawczewicz, a Priva employee who previously worked for DoD on security and biometrics, said in a statement.
Priva said its security chip targets the "risk and vulnerability gap" between current databases and commercially available biometric authentication products by utilizing technologies that surpass biometrics.