#BasicResearch Chatter — Doing Business with our International Offices — Europe Edition

We’ve done it. We interviewed all of the international offices, and today’s post will be the last entry into this on-going series of “Doing Business with our International Offices.” Earlier this week, we sat with the folks in our London office otherwise known as the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development – or EOARD for short.

Colonel D. Brent Morris is the Director of AFOSR’s International Science Division and Commander of EOARD. Col. Morris directs offices in London, Santiago and Tokyo overseeing a research budget of $50+ million leading to execution of 400+ grants.

Not only is Col. Morris an influential U.S. Air Force leader, he is also a skilled beekeeper. Much like the mutualistic relationship between the bee & the flower, EOARD seeks partnerships with exquisite scientists to conduct basic research.

The AFOSR mission is to discover shape and champion basic science that profoundly impacts the future U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. Read the IO Annual Report to see our how our international sphere of influence supports the mission.

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#BasicResearch Chatter — Doing Business with our International Offices — Asia Edition

If you’ve been following our blog for the last few months, then you know that we’ve been highlighting our International Offices and this month’s highlight is our Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development – or AOARD for short.

On Monday night, Tuesday morning for our friends in Tokyo, we sat down and had an entertaining hour talking about how to do business with AOARD but before we get into that let’s talk about AFOSR’s International Offices and how they seek to build mutually beneficial relationships between scientists from around the world with scientists in the United States to accelerate science and technology achievement and leverage diversity of thought. You can learn more about AFOSR’s IO programs and tools: HERE.

With international offices in Arlington, Santiago, London, and Tokyo… the sun never sets on AFOSR. International Program Officers (IPOs) at these offices fund #BasicResearch grants at foreign institutions across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Central and South America.

Established under AFOSR in 1992, AOARD promotes basic science and scientific interchanges of interest to the USAF and USSF through the combined efforts of multinational top researchers within the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific region has been rapidly rising in importance within the scientific community and publishes more scientific papers compared to other regions globally. Key technologies in this region include nanotechnology, biotechnology, information and cognitive sciences.

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#BasicResearch Chatter – Q&A with Dr. Shery Welsh

So our last blog post highlighted all of the tweets from our new director, Dr. Shery Welsh, but this time around we’re going to share the questions the were asked during the twitter hour and the answers that Dr. Welsh and our team came up with.

It was a very busy hour last month, because almost as soon as we went live the questions started coming in. We received a total of 19 questions over the hour we were live, and some of these questions required multiple tweets. Those 240 characters really get you sometimes. So without further ado, here are the questions and the answers.

I got my start at the Defense Support System. In 1991, that was the system that detected scud missiles during the first Gulf War. Dr. Welsh, what changes have you witnessed in remote and near sensing and what challenges do you see us tackling next?

From Dr. Yakes — The quality and quantity of EM sensors has been constantly improving, matched with a similar improvement in computational power. This has led to interesting new ideas and data fusion, visualization, and analysis.

We will continue to push these boundaries as well as further investigating hyperspectral and polarimetric imaging and new ideas in degraded or obscured environments. Grant opportunities at Grants.Gov

It has to be an exciting time to lead AFOSR with the challenge of laying the #basicresearch objectives of Space Force.

It is!!! I have worked closely with USSF and I am thrilled to be responsible for their basic research. Our mission domains are space, air, and cyber but we are focused on dedicating investments to make for robust space research to meet the needs of USSF and drive tech push as well.

Please share your thoughts on the AFOSR investments to address emerging scientific challenges. Specifically would there be an opportunity to plan MURIs and other focused initiatives to address these emerging challenges in specific areas.

We are constantly assessing our portfolios for realignment of investments needed to address challenges. We invest in MURIs and many other programs to meet those challenges. Collaborations and new partnerships across the globe are key.

Dr. Welsh, Roscomos announced today a new nanotechnology that self heals damage from micrometeorite collisions. How do we compete when our leadership demonstrates a lack of basic scientific understanding?

It’s incumbent upon us as scientists/engineers to educate our leadership and I can tell you it works! It shouldn’t stop us from competing. I have the authority to drive our portfolios to compete. It can be challenging at times but lean in and keep pushing forward!

How best to work with you to pursue R&D collaborations with industry?

AFRL has great resources for industry/small business: Partner with Us

Small and large businesses are also eligible grant applicants in our Broad Agency Announcement (BAA): Grants.gov

How would the focused future investments align with the Department of Defense modernization priorities? Thank you.

They always have and will continue to do so. Fortunately, I have many demand signals (tech pull), and AFOSR Program Officers are highly regarded and drive the technology push to highlight to USSF and USAF what they’ll need but may not realize.

What do you see in the future for AFR Basic Research? What are the broad aims and goals you want to meet in future funding applications?

I see MORE global partnerships. More workforce development to grow our talent pipeline to attract top talent My goal: remove every “science” roadblock to clear the path for our AFRL and USSF brethren as they mature and advance technologies for the Warfighter.

Good Morning, Dr. Welsh,

I’m curious if you could comment on the whether the AF2030 efforts are still guide future research vision, or if there is a pivot in technical focus with changing leadership?

Yes – AFRL and AFOSR are still working hard to accelerate the S&T 2030 strategy that focuses on game-changing ideas and transitions from basic research to the lab t the field: AFResearchLab.com

AFOSR in particular is expanding the Center of Excellence program which strives to enhance collaborations and generate excitement between AFRL and university researchers in fields important to the future success of the USAF and USSF.


Thanks for providing this opportunity! I’m familiar with NSF reviewing process. Is the reviewing process of AFOSR similar (e.g. through a panel consisting of experts)?

And two bonus questions:

2. Do you think we will ever see co-design between vehicle and munition addressed proactively as a basic research activity?

3. The abrupt change in SBIR/STTR handling, left a number of contractors in an odd middle ground. Can you help? 🙂

After receiving a proposal, AFOSR runs it through a vigorous peer review process looking for technical merit, Air Force relevance, and other criteria based on the requirements of the BAA. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Re: 3. with the strategic move to align AFWERX within the AFRL ecosystem, we hope to be able to streamline processes.

I’m excited to see what the Quantum U Tech Accelerator yields! Will there be other initiatives like that with AFOSR involvement?

YES! We are planning a Space Sciences Summit with USSF and AFRL for October 2020! We have many initiatives and events lined up so continue to follwo us and you’ll hear all about them!!

Welcome to your great leadership position. Is there any plans to expand the research support to HBCU/MI? ROLLTIDE.

ROLLTIDE my friend!! Yes. I have a passion for STEM and the HBCU/MI programs. We MUST continue to invest in these programs and I am. Diversity is key to innovation and we must increase our youth in STEM career fields. We are planning a virtual Roadshow for Fall for HBCU/MIs!

Air Force telephone number, looking for records?

The best place to start is the Air Force Public Affairs.

Be sure to join us next week on September 29, 2020 as we talk to AOARD! The time will be TBD, so be on the lookout on all of our social media channels for the announcement!

#BasicResearch Chatter — Dr. Shery Welsh Meet and Greet Recap

We had a tremendously good time last month introducing AFOSR’s new director, Dr. Shery Welsh. If you happened to join us during the twitter chat on August 25, then we thank you so much for your questions and engagement. Our audience that morning was very active and really asked some tough questions, but Dr. Welsh was on point and was more than ready to answer everything.

Dr. Welsh brings more than 33 years of experience from the Department of Defense as a federal employee. In her previous role, she served as the Science and Technology director of the Missile Defense Agency — seeking cutting edge technology within industry, Department of Defense and National Labs to advance technology to benefit the warfighter.

AFOSR is responsible for the execution of the US Air Force and Space Force basic research programs. “My focus as Director is to strengthen collaborations globally with universities, government laboratories, industry and other Department of Defense components.” The University of Alabama, Huntsville published a terrific article on Dr. Welsh; read it here.

“We pursue and fund research activities in academia, along with in-house research performed in the AFRL Technical Directorates.”

Dr. Shery Welsh

Under Dr. Welsh’s keen leadership, AFOSR provides transformational capability for the US Air Force and Space Force. AFOSR takes smart risks in emerging areas of cutting science that will lead to new warfighting technologies not yet discovered. Visit our BAA to learn more.

Since 1951, AFOSR has funded 82 Nobel Laureates. While many claim Novel Laureates, and we take pride in providing early and sometimes initial funding, statistically on average, that funding came 17 years before winning the Nobel Prize, but in many cases it’s much more. Good research is domain agnostic — AFOSR enabled revolutionary science and technology for the warfighter and all of humanity. To read more of what AFOSR has accomplished visit our monograph.

At AFOSR, we collaborate. We rely on the networks and expertise of our Program Officers (POs) to establish and maintain a collaborative research ecosystem. As the basic research arm of AFRL, we engage across the lab which leads to breakthrough innovations for the US Air Force and Space Force. To learn more AFRL Technology, click here.

We make vital connections in the science and technology ecosystem — connecting AFRL with academia all around the world. We attract and fund the best people — AFOSR invests in diverse talent and programs and leverages Department of Defense programs to find the right people to advance US Air Force and Space Force science. For more information on career and opportunities, click here.

Speaking of Space Force, AFOSR is proud to support the US Space Force with basic research efforts in space sciences. You can hear all about AFOSR Director Dr. Shery Welsh’s vision for space at the AFOSR AMOS conference virtual booth at #AMOS2020, 16-18 Sepember, 2020.

See how the Air Force and Space Force will be working together. We’re excited to be the #BasicResearch arm of the US Space Force. For more information on how AFRL is going to be realigned, click here.

Join us Tuesday, September 29, 2020, time TBD on Twitter as we highlight our International Office – Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development. Our next blog post is going to highlight the questions we received during this Twitter chat – so be sure to check that out when it’s published!

#BasicResearch Chatter — Doing Business with our International Offices — South America Edition

We’re back this month with our continuing series on our AFRL/AFOSR international offices and “How to do Business” with them. #BasicResearch Chatter is focusing on our Southern Office of Aerospace Research and Development — most commonly referred to as SOARD.

Lt. Col. Montes, Chief of the SOARD, joined us for our hour long twitter chat and not only provided us with some terrific insight, but was also on point with answering the multitudes of questions we fielded during the twitter hour.

Before we get to the meat of the talk though, let’s discuss the basics of SOARD and what they do. SOARD is located in Santiago, Chile, and is the field office of the AFOSR’s International Office (AFOSR/IO) responsible for amnaging the AFOSR’s basic research activity in Central and South America. Their mission is to serve as the US Air Force liaison with the scientific and engineering communities of the region by supporting research goals of AFRL through a variety of international programs.

Our international POs are scientific ambassadors forging strong science and technology bonds with the most creative and talented researchers around the world to work collaboratively in areas of interest to the US Air Force and Space Force. SOARD facilitates research and promote dialogue on opportunities and benefits of defense-led research and development.

SOARD also supports conferences in Latin America. Our Senior Scientists lead talks at the International Air and Space Fair and continues to search and engage with universities. We support young researcher with ground-breaking ideas.

By collaborating on basic research efforts around the world, we have the right networks, people and knowledge in place for rapid response grants when needed — like now during the COVID-19 pandemic. SOARD funding support tools include research grants, conference support, and Window-on-Science Travel Support. AFOSR IO (AOARD, EOARD, and SOARD) seeks to build mutually beneficial relationships between scientists overseas and scientists in the United States to accelerate science and technology.

Some of the work we’d like to highlight today is the Suchai Sattelite — AFOSR is supporting the first all Chilean satellite launch made possible by the wonderful research conducted by Dr. Marcos Diaz from the University of Chile and Dr. Marina Stepanova from the University of Santiago, Chile. The launch of the satellite is schedule for early 2021 and AFOSR has a signed MOU with the University of Chile to support 3 payloads; one to survey ionospheric plasma in 3D; another to test an advanced phased array radar; and one to test the performance of graphene electronics in a space environment.

We’re also proud to say that young students at the University of Santiago, Chile are involved with the Suchai Satellite.

The All Sky Camera (aka OmniSSA) was deployed by the #CIDCA and the Chilean Air Force and made possible through a collaborative effort with AFOSR and Marcus Holzinger at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, formerly with Georgia Tech. For more information – check out the fact sheet.

There are also a number of AFOSR International Educational Programs:

  • Windows on Science sponsors foreign scientists and engineers to visit US Air Force scientists and engineers at USAF sites typically with in the US.
  • Windows on the World is for top US Air Force scientists and engineers to conduct full-time research at a non-government foreign laboratory.
  • Engineer and Scientists Exchange Program (ESEP) promotes international cooperation in military research through the exchange of defense scientists and engineers.

We are also official members of the Latin American Remote Sensing Council (LARS).

There was a lot of content covered during this Twitter hour and questions started coming in almost immediately. Here are some of the questions we replied to.

What was something you wanted to learn from this chat that we didn’t cover?

In order for a proposal to be considered for or to receive funding, the investigator’s organization will need to register on the official SAM, System for Award Management.

To reach out to international program officers at SOARD — email SOARD at theamericas@us.af.mil.

What are the best ways to stay connected to AFOSR?

Connect with us on:

I am a professor in a Brazilian institution, can I apply to the SOARD?

I am interested in conducting research with additive manufacturing in Ni alloys for aeronautical and aerospace application.

We encourage any country in Latin America to apply. To reach out to our international POs at SOARD — email theamericas.us.af.mil

I am new to your twitter chat; what is it that we do at AFResearchLab?

Thanks for joining! AFRL leads the discovery, development and delivery of war-fighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace forces. We’re pushing the boundaries and creating a new tomorrow through unparalleled research. Check out our website for more information — AFRL.

What’s your expected outcome from the QIS project? Do you prefer theoretic research or designs leading to practical technologies?

We have a diverse range of grants in QIS – from communications, cryptography, computing, algorithms and PNT. We are interested in any new ideas, so long as they are basic science.

Since this will be a seed grant, will there be further opportunities at AFOSR to extend the initial results and continue with project?

AFOSR has a year-round, open call for possible projects. You can find it at: grants.gov/afosr then navigate to the top link: FA9550-19-S-0003

Do you have main aims or goals which research should align for upcoming proposals?

Especially in the context of COVID-19, I’m wondering if specific areas might be seen as more beneficial to the wider public to fund.

We do have an interest in COVID-related projects either from a biotech or modeling point of view.

How are the funding perspectives for projects submitted this year?

Our many research areas can be found in the AFOSR Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), white papers and proposals can be handled year-round. Air Force priorities change every year, but basic science areas are wide.

What is the funding cycle? Are there specific deadlines for white papers and proposals? Do you encourage short discovery based projects and larger 3-5 year projects?

We have an open BAA and accept proposals year round. We do multi-year projects with average efforts of 3 years. Process for this: Review BAA. Find your interest area and send an email to PO listed to start the conversation. You may be asked to submit a white paper.

To what extent are open science practices considered in grant applications? Are there specific principles which are more important for the grant than others? For example, would registered reports hold more weight than pre-registration, or would this not really matter?

We love open source! In addition to the grants, we support conference attendance Apply here.

Are there any aims/overarching objectives/strategy for non-COVID related projects which are important for grant applications?

You can to the AFOSR BAA. The research priorities in the BAA are driven by the National Defense Strategy.

Catch us live on Twitter on August 25, as we delve into the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development (EOARD).