Early last month, Under Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter commissioned a study of the Department of Defense’s basic research portfolio. Carter requested that the Defense Science Board (DSB) establish a Task Force on Basic Research that will validate the quality of the basic research program and offer advice on long-term planning.
The Task Force is to assess the appropriateness of the goals of “basic research,” assess the management of basic research across DoD, identify gaps in the research program, examine the balance between individual and multi-user grants, and assess the competitiveness between intramural and extramural research programs.
The announcement should be of particular interest to universities as DoD is a significant source of federal funding of university research in several disciplines including electrical and mechanical engineering, computer sciences, and mathematics.
DoD is also a major source of funding in materials, optics, and oceanography. Finally in some specific areas, DoD is the only source of basic research funding in areas such as the support of vacuum electronics needed for radiation-hardened electronics used in radar and space systems.
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