New DoD DESI Award Competition to Support Univ-Industry Basic Research

DoD Announces Defense Enterprise Science Initiative to Support University-Industry Basic Research
DoD Announces Defense Enterprise Science Initiative to Support University-Industry Basic Research

The Department of Defense (DoD) has 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 Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OASD/R&E), and is run in collaboration with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and the Army Research Office (ARO).

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.

The FY 2018 DESI BAA program seeks proposals addressing the recommended topics listed below.

These topics represent areas where defense challenges exist, and which are amenable to solutions resulting from use-inspired basic research by industry and academia.

In addition, offerors are encouraged to identify other defense challenges and propose solutions to an Alternate Topic.

  • Topic 1: Power Beaming
  • Topic 2: Highly-maneuverable autonomous UAV
  • Topic 3: Soft Active Composites with Intrinsic Sensing, Actuation, and Control
  • Topic 4: Metamaterial-based Antennas

The list of topics provided above is by no means comprehensive, and teams are encouraged to submit alternative topics for DESI funding. The alternative topic must represent an area where significant defense challenges exist, and that would benefit from a use-inspired basic research program by a university-industry partnership.

Eligible Applicants: Small businesses
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
For profit organizations other than small businesses


For more information, please see the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) FA9550-18-S-B001 at

Contact Information – General Inquiries:

Calvin Scott, AFOSR/PK1
Grants/Contracting Officer

Pre-proposal inquiries and questions should be received through electronic mail by January 5, 2018.