AFOSR awards grants to 36 scientists and engineers through its Young Investigator Research Program

  • Published
  • By Ellen Robinson
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research
ARLINGTON, Va. (AFOSR) – The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) today announced it will award approximately $16.1 million in grants to 36 scientists and engineers from 27 research institutions and businesses who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP).
The YIP is open to United States citizens and/or permanent residents’ who are scientists and engineers at United States research institutions who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last seven years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research of military interests.

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

This year, AFOSR received over 215 proposals in response to the AFOSR YIP funding opportunity announcement (FOA) solicitation, FOA-AFRL-AFOSR-2020-0003. Thirty-six YIPs were awarded in these research areas: Aerospace Composite Materials, Aerospace Materials for Extreme Environments, Agile Science for Test and Evaluation, Atomic and Molecular Physics, Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, Complex Networks, Computational Cognition and Machine Intelligence, Computational Mathematics, Condensed Matter Physics, Dynamic Data and Information Processing, Dynamics Materials and Interactions, Dynamical Systems and Control Theory, Electromagnetics, Energy Combustion and Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, GHz-THz Electronics and Materials, High Speed Aerodynamics, Human Performance and Biosystems,  Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, Laser and Optical Physics, Mathematical Optimization, Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Microsystems, Molecular Dynamics and Theoretical Chemistry,  Multi-Scale Structural Mechanics and Prognosis, Natural Materials and Systems, Optoelectronics and Physics, Organic Materials Chemistry, Physics of Remote Sensing, Plasma and Electro-Energetic Physics, Propulsion and Power, Quantum Information Sciences, Science of Information, Computation and Fusion, Space Science, Trust and Influence, Ultrashort Pulse Laser-Matter Interactions, and Unsteady Aerodynamics and Turbulence Flows.  
YIP recipients receive a three year grant totaling $450,000.  

The following YIP recipients and their anticipated research areas are:
  • Dr. Pinar Acar, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, UNDOPhase: UNcertainty-DOminated Phase Transitions in Magnetic Materials
  • Dr. Damiano Baccarella, University of Tennessee, Quantification and Mitigation of the Thermochemical Non-Equilibrium in High-Enthalpy Hypersonic Wind Tunnels
  • Dr. Stanley Bak, Research Foundation for SUNY on behalf of Stony Brook University, The Science of Fuzz Testing Autonomous Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Dr. Tugce Baser, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Phase-dependent Behavior of Porous Materials Subjected to High Strain-rate Loading
  • Dr. Barry Bradlyn, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Topological Quantum Chemistry for Photonic Crystals
  • Dr. Stacy Copp, University of California Irvine, Expanding the Toolbox of DNA Nanotechnology: Silver-mediated DNA Base Pairing
  • Dr. Chloe Dedic, University of Virginia, Spatially-resolve Temperature, Species, and Pressure Measurement for Reacting Flows Using Ultrafast CARS
  • Dr. Austin Downey, University of South Carolina, Real-time Model Updating for Structures in Shock Environments
  • Dr. Chunhui Du, University of California San Diego, Nanoscale Quantum Sensing of Unconventional Superconductivity by a Single Spin Magnetometer
  • Dr. Giulia Fanti, Carnegie Mellon University, Inferring and Hiding Structural Properties of Complex Networks
  • Dr. Katerina Fragkiadaki, Carnegie Mellon University, Common Sense for Superhuman Perception: From Vibration to Vision to Verbal Multiscale Multimodal Intelligence
  • Dr. Jie Fu, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, Towards Preference-Aware Autonomy: Specification, Synthesis, and Interactive Planning
  • Dr. Mark Harrison, Chapman University, Developing Plasmonic Logic Devices for Large-Scale Photonic Integrated Circuits
  • Dr. Robert Hildebrand, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Algorithms and Complexity in Mixed Integer Nonlinear Optimization
  • Dr. Archana Kamal, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Tunable Quantum Dissipation Using Parametric Interactions
  • Dr. Jason Kawasaki, University of Wisconsin Madison, Topological superconductivity and induced phase transitions in strained Heusler membranes and twisted bilayers
  • Dr. Alicia Kollar, University of Maryland College Park, Engineering Spin Interactions in Circuit QED Lattices
  • Dr. Sandeep Kuttal, University of Tulsa, Supporting Information Foraging by Utilizing Agents’ Collective Foraging Behavior
  • Dr. Francis Lagor, Research Foundation for SUNY on behalf of University of Buffalo, Towards Real-Time, 3D Coherent Structure Estimation for Flow Over Finite Wings
  • Dr. Marianna Maiaru, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Physics-based Process Modeling for High-Temperature and High-Strength Composites
  • Dr. Marc Miskin, University of Pennsylvania, Microrobots for Multifunctional Materials
  • Dr. Darren Pagan, Pennsylvania State University, Revealing Hidden Defect Interactions in Engineering Alloys at the Microscale
  • Dr. Zachariah Page, University of Texas Austin, Polarization-Specific Photocatalysis for Materials Chemistry
  • Dr. Benjamin Peherstorfer, New York University, Context-aware learning: Towards intelligent decision-making in science and engineering
  • Dr. Yuan Ping, University of California Santa Cruz, First-principles spin relaxation in Two-dimensional materials: proximity, twisting and doping effects
  • Dr. Elena Provornikova, Johns Hopkins University, Impact of interplanetary structure on solar energetic particle transport
  • Dr. William Putnam, University of California Davis, Superradiant Smith-Purcell Emission in the Mid-Infrared via Guided-Wave Electron Optics
  • Dr. Joel Rosenfeld, University of Southern Florida, Hilbert Spaces from Occupation Kernels and Learning in Nonlinear and Nonlocal Dynamical Systems
  • Dr. Dorsa Sadigh, Stanford University, Adaptive Conventions for Trustworthy Human-Robot Interaction
  • Dr. Thomas Underwood, University of Texas Austin, Air-Breathing Magneto-Deflagration Propulsion for Sustained Very Low Earth Orbit
  • Dr. Floris van Breugel, University of Nevada Reno, Building a Universal Theory of Multi-Sensory Integration
  • Dr. Romain Vasseur, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Emergent Phenomena in Non-equilibrium Quantum Systems
  • Dr. Shuo Wang, West Virginia University Research Corporation, Investigating Single-Neuron Mechanisms of Face Coding in the Human Brain
  • Dr. Xiaodi Wu, University of Maryland College Park, Automated Security Analysis of Cryptographic Systems Under Quantum Attacks
  • Dr. Xu Yi, University of Virginia, Symbiotic Pockels Solitons: Microcavity Solitons in Normal Dispersion Regime
  • Dr. Lauren Zarzar, Pennsylvania State University, Remote Sensing via Multi-path Optical Interference of Reflected Light
For additional information on the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Research Program, send correspondence to Ellen M. Robinson at