The United States Department of Defense (DoD), part of the executive branch of the federal government, is responsible for coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security and the United States Armed Forces. Beneath the DoD are three subordinate military departments: the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military. DARPA's mission is: "to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security".

Reoccurring Prestigious DoD Research Programs

Young Investigator Programs (YIPs) 

These grants support early career faculty research in science and engineering. More information can be found on the DoD Opportunities for Early Career Faculty page, or by visiting agency webpages:

Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)

Sponsored by DoD research offices, the MURI program addresses high-risk basic research and attempts to understand or achieve something that has never been done before. It supports basic research in science and engineering at U.S. 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. Search for most recent MURI solicitations.

Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF)

The VBFF is the DoD's most prestigious single-investigator award and supports basic research with the potential for transformative impact. As a 5-year fellowship with up to $3 million in funding, the VBFF supports new, out-of-the box ideas where researcher creativity intersects with the unknown. Vannevar Bush Fellows represent a cadre of experts that provide invaluable direction to the DoD in its scientific efforts and also train the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Research Program

Provides science and engineering faculty members from institutions of higher education the opportunity to participate in research of mutual interest to the faculty member and peers at U.S. Navy laboratories for a 10-week period. Program participants have an opportunity to establish continuing research relationships with the R&D personnel of the host laboratories which may result in sponsorship of the participant’s research at their home institutions.

Air Force Visiting Scientist Program (VSP)

VSP provides opportunities for outstanding Air Force scientists and engineers (AF S&Es) to conduct full-time research at a non-government laboratory located within the USA. The duration of a VSP visit can be up to 179 days. 

Air Force Engineer & Scientist Exchange Program (ESEP)

ESEP is a DoD effort to promote international cooperation in military research, development, and acquisition through the exchange of defense scientists and engineers. It provides on-site working assignments for US military and civilian engineers and scientists in allied and friendly governments' organizations and the reciprocal assignment of foreign engineers and scientists in US defense establishments.

Air Force Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship Program (SFFP)

SFFP offers hands-on exposure to Air Force research challenges through 8- to 12-week research residencies at participating Air Force research facilities for full-time science, mathematics, and engineering faculty at U.S. colleges and universities.


DoD Flyer blue and white

This Fall 2021 workshop included a panel of diverse, accomplished PIs discussing their DoD funding experiences. Topics discussed included agency missions, funding priorities, how to connect with Program Officers, and proposal writing techniques. Click the link below to access the presentation slides and here to watch the presentation video

Fall workshop presentation slides

Held on August 12, 2020, this interactive discussion included a panel of successful PIs speaking about how to go after and win funding from the DoD and DARPA. We covered agency missions, funding priorities, working with Program Officers, proposal types from Young Investigator Program (YIP) to Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), and tips on how to write a winning DoD proposal. Click the link below to access the presentation slides and here to watch the presentation video

Getting DoD Funding Presentation


Notes from a panel of Cornell faculty who have a long history of DoD funding success and a wide range of programmatic experience with DoD (Feb 2016).

The following documents are from a June 2018 presentation by Lewis-Burke Associates LLC.

Hosted by the Basic Research Innovation and Collaboration Center (BRICC) in June 2020, this webinar was a LIVE virtual event for universities interested in working with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The event provided a great opportunity for university researchers and administrators to learn how to do business with AFRL - from basic to applied.

Research funding opportunities can be found in the Resources section further down this page. Upcoming events are listed in the Featured section.

Photo: A cross-sectional scanning transmission electron micrograph (STEM) of a digital oxide superlattice provided by the Schlom Group ( Photo credit: Julia A. Mundy