Webinar on Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)

  • By Burcu Ozden
  • 13 December 2017

Last month University of Pittsburgh host a webinar titled as “Guide to Research Roadmap: Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) in collaboration with Mcallister and Quin consulting firm. As Pittsburgh Quantum Institute, we attended this event to be able to share the information on this webinar with our members. The purposes of the webinar were to explain the crucial steps needed to proactively plan for the MURI program and using the McAllister & Quinn (M&Q) MURI Research Roadmap (available to PQI members with e-mail request). In this article, we would like first to discuss briefly what the M&Q MURI Research Roadmap is and how our members can reach this information and then summarize the topics discussed in this webinar.

The M&Q MURI Research Roadmap is a useful summary of MURI application procedure and history of the funds prepared by M&Q consultant firm. This document includes the review of every MURI BAA, since the FY09 MURI solicitation. Furthermore, every MURI topic, Topic chief, and their respective research interest were mapped out. In this document, our members can find the contact information of Topic Chiefs based on their division (i.e. physics, chemistry etc.c) This Research Roadmap provides many benefits:

  • Allows PIs to align research ideas to a specific Topic Chief.
  • Promotes dialogue with MURI program staff in advance of the next solicitation.

If our members want to reach this document they can email us from communication@pqi.org

The Department of Defense (DoD) Multidisciplinary MURI Program supports basic research in science and engineering at US institutions of higher education that is of potential interest to DoD. The program is focused on multidisciplinary research efforts where more than one traditional discipline interacts to provide rapid advances in scientific areas of interest to the DoD.

The MURI program is sponsored by the DoD branch research offices: the Army Research Office (ARO); the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR); and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Jointly, these offices release one MURI Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) listing the topic areas of interest for each branch.

DoD makes 19-32 awards per year, giving 1 award per topic. Typical MURI annual funding per grant is $1.25M to $1.5M. In general, the period of performance per award is 5 years. The application timeline varies year-to-year; however, the last two applications cycles were fairly similar to one another. The deadlines can be summarizes as following:

  • January: Internal DOD call for MURI topics
  • February- March: Internal DOD topic review and proposal
  • March-April: Solicitations issued
  • June: White paper inquiries due
  • July: White papers due
  • August: Invitations made for full proposals
  • October: Full proposal inquiries due
  • November: Applications due for all branches

A MURI research topic breakdown to 6 categories as following

  1. Title: Topic number, cognizant branch, brief topic description.
  2. Background information: Historical and informational overview of the research topic.
  3. Research Objectives: Desired outcomes of the research.
  4. Research Concentration Areas: 2-5 areas are listed for each topic.
  5. Anticipated Resources: Annual funding limit, performance period, the number of faculty each award supports.
  6. Research Topic Chief’s Information: Name, military branch, phone number and email address.

Building a relationship and rapport with the Research Topic Chief(s) is an important step in writing a successful MURI proposal. Topic Chiefs not only make recommendations for future solicitation topics, but they also are the first – and sometimes only – reviewer of proposed white papers. PIs are “strongly encouraged” to contact the Topic Chiefs prior to White Paper submission. PIs can send an initial e-mail which includes introduction of PI, his/her research idea, and call to action (asking for discussing the PIs research idea) to a Topic Chief.

A Muri concept paper is typically 1-2 pages identifying the research and issues, outlining the goals and aims of the project, and proposing the technical approaches using scientific language. PIs need to describe the potential team and management plan as well as the applications of the research and any potential impact on DoD capabilities.

If you are interested in this topic you can contact to Ryan K. Champagne, Grants Development Coordinator, from rkc12@pitt.edu.