The Department of Defense (DoD) announced an award competition for the Defense Enterprise Science Initiative (DESI), a new pilot program that supports university-industry collaboration on use-inspired basic research. DESI is sponsored by the Basic Research Office, Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and executed in collaboration with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Army Research Office.
DESI incentivizes use-inspired basic research, or a scientific study directed toward increasing fundamental knowledge and understanding in the context of end-use applications. Projects funded by DESI will bring together university and industry teams with the aim of discovering novel solutions to challenging defense and national security problems. Through these projects, DESI aims to accelerate the impact of basic research results on defense capabilities, inform existing or future acquisition programs, and support sustainable collaboration between the nation’s universities and the private sector.
This year's announcement is themed around technologies to enable a new generation of sensing, mobility, and autonomy. Research topics include power beaming, highly‐maneuverable autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle, soft active composites, and metamaterial‐based antennas. Additional topic areas identified by the applicants will also be considered.