The Department of Defense today announced the 2023 class of the Laboratory-University Collaboration Initiative (LUCI).

LUCI fellows are accomplished researchers within defense laboratories who seek to collaborate with prominent DOD-funded academic researchers – either recipients of the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship or principal/co-principal investigators under the Multi-Disciplinary University Research Initiative. Each awarded LUCI project will be eligible to receive up to $200,000 per year for three years.

The selection process for this competitive fellowship engaged program officers from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force; leaders from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s Basic Research Office; and technical experts from supporting defense contractors. From 57 white papers, evaluators chose 19 that demonstrated the potential for creative, high-impact research in topic areas critical to the DoD. After an interview phase, the BRO selected the following 12 projects, with 18 total principal investigators from the Service laboratories, as the Department’s 2023 LUCI cohort:

Principal Investigator

Topic

Project Title

Collaborator

Spencer Olson
(Air Force Research Laboratory)

Quantum Information Science

Micro-Optical Cavities for Scalable Coherent Coupling

Monika Schleier-Smith; Jon Simon
(Stanford University)

Steven Rodriguez
(Naval Research Laboratory)

Applied Math

Low-Dimensional Manifold Discovery from Unstructured Data of Meshless Multiphysics

Steven Brunton (University of Washington)

Meagan Small and Jordan Baumbach
(Army Research Laboratory)

Fundamentals of Bio-engineering

Evolution of Fungal Enzymes for Degradation of Polymeric Materials

Ahmad Khalil
(Boston University)

Mulugeta Haile
(Army Research Laboratory)

Other

Biomimetic Vestibular Physical Reservoir Computing as a Universal Stability Controller for Nonlinear Dynamical Systems

Ying-Cheng Lai (Arizona State University)

Ibrahim Boulares and Owen Vail
(Army Research Laboratory)

Materials

Beyond the 2D Limit: Band Engineered Control of Exciton Condensates in Coupled van der Waals Systems

Philip Kim
(Harvard University)

Tanya Tschirhart
(Naval Research Laboratory)

Fundamentals of Bio-engineering

Connecting Electron Flow and Gene Expression in Cells for Multi-Channel Electrogenetics

Caroline Ajo-Franklin
(Rice University)

James Delehanty
(Naval Research Laboratory)

Cognitive Neuroscience

Nanoscale Sensors and Actuators for Advanced Measurement and Control of Neuronal Cell Function In Vivo

Rafael Yuste (Columbia University)

Corey Trahan and Mark Loveland
(Army Research Laboratory)

Networks/
Artificial Intelligence

Modeling Coastal Hydrodynamics Using Neural Operators

George Karniadakis (Brown University)

William Kennedy and Dass Chandriker
(Air Force Research Laboratory)

Materials

Circularly Polarized Lasers Using Intrinsically Chiral Hybrid Perovskite Crystals

Nick Kotov
(University of Michigan)

Patrick Callahan and Keith Knipling
(Naval Research Laboratory)

Materials

Understanding the Deformation Behavior of Refractory High Entropy Alloys

Mitra Taheri
(Johns Hopkins University)

Blair Connelly and George de Coster
(Army Research Laboratory)

Materials

Deconvolution of Topological Photocurrents: Ultrafast Spin Flips Without Uncertainty

Mercedeh Khajavikhan; Demetrios Christodoloudis (University of Southern California)

Manoj Kolel-Veetil
(Naval Research Laboratory)

Other

AI/ML-Assisted Advancement of Degradation Science of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) on 2-Dimensional Nanoconfining Substrates

Surya Kalidindi (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Administered out of the BRO, the LUCI program fosters collaboration between DoD laboratory scientists and DoD-funded university scientists in priority defense research areas including applied mathematics, cognitive neuroscience, engineering biology, novel materials, quantum information science, and manufacturing science.

“We are delighted to contribute to the Department’s core mission by supporting a science and technology workforce that can excel in basic research, shape innovative research directions, and access the most advanced work under way in the broader scientific community,” said Dr. Bindu Nair, director of the Basic Research Office. “LUCI allows our lab scientists to pursue necessary high-risk research by giving them time to develop long-term ideas while tapping the creative energy and innate curiosity of university partners.”

To learn more about LUCI, visit us at https://basicresearch.defense.gov/Pilots/Laboratory-University-Collaboration-Initiative/ or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/dod-basic-research-office/.

About USD(R&E)

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military’s technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre.