#BasicResearch Chatter — HBCU/MI Funding Opportunities and More …

On February 9th, we welcomed Ed Lee and United States Air Force Colonel Jason Mello to sit down with us and talk about AFOSR’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions program – most commonly referred to as HBCU/MI.

For those who are new to our blog or just joining us, AFOSR is the basic research arm of the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), supporting the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. Managing 1,200+ grants worldwide, AFOSR engages in diversity of thought with universities and AFRL labs, leading to breakthrough innovations: to learn more about our technology areas click HERE.

Moving right along now, let’s introduce you to our subject matter experts (SMEs), United States Air Force Col Jason Mello, AFOSR Chief, Science and Engineering Division, and Mr. Ed Lee, AFOSR Program Coordinator for the HBCU/MI #BasicResearch portfolio.

AFOSR solicits and funds research to solve the Air Force and Space Force’s biggest and sometimes unknown future challenges – it’s competitive! AFOSR’s HBCU/MI program seeks to enhance research and educational capabilities; encourage the participation of institutions in research, development, testing, and evaluation in the Agile Science of Test and Evaluation; increase the number of graduates; and encourage research and educational collaborations.

AFOSR is committed to supporting HBCU/MI. Between 2016-2020, AFOSR invested over $216M in HBCU/MI basic research grants to 279 researchers in 116 different science research areas.

We’re interested in hearing about HBCU research and how it might fit the needs of the United States Air Force and United States Space Force. The first step is to share your idea(s) with our POs – they may suggest submitting a whitepaper to get started! Engage with AFOSR POs to discuss your idea statement. Promising ideas may begin as an ongoing dialogue and lead to a full proposal submission.

Research proposals are reviewed by AFOSR POs as part of our core program. The process for applying for grants can be found HERE.

The focus of AFOSR is on research areas that offer significant and comprehensive benefits to our national warfighting and peacekeeping capabilities. Research areas and corresponding Program Officer(s), and their contact can be found on our website, AFOSR Research Areas.

Calling all HBCU STEM researchers — are you interested in funding for your innovative research idea(s)? Review the broad agency announcement (BAA) and reach out to the Program Officer in your area of interest. Typically each year the AFOSR HBCU/MI program grant opens for submission in August and closes in July.

To apply for an AFOSR basic research HBCU/MI grant, go to the BAA at grants.gov. Search for Opportunity Number: FA9550-19-S-0003 or Opportunity Title: Research Interests of the Air Force of Scientific Research.

HBCU/MI strategic partnerships are vital to Basic Research Success. It is the teaming of diverse areas of science that enables the next generation of technology advancements. AFRL actively works to support underrepresented minorities by recruiting across the country to include looking to hire the best and brightest students to work across our enterprise. AFRL/AFOSR seeks out researchers at major science and technology career fairs, including the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the BEYA STEM Awards. You may even see Ed Lee there!

We’re excited to announce our #AFOSR_HBCU program community group on LinkedIn. Connect and follow to learn about funding opportunities, celebrate HBCU/MI PIs and basic research breakthroughs. Also, follow YIP on Twitter @AFOSRYIP.

If you have questions about the AFOSR HBCU program, send your inquiry to HBCUMIus.af.mil.

Be sure to follow AFOSR #BasicResearch on social media to learn about funding opportunities, upcoming events, and research news.

What are the best ways to stay connected to AFOSR?



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Thank you for joining us to learn more about AFOSR’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) program! We hope we made doing business with us a little more transparent. Join us for our next AFOSR #BasicResearch Chatter in March!

#BasicResearch Chatter — An Opportunity to chat about the AFRL Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program (ESEP)

Last week we delved into the world of ESEP, AFRL’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program, for this month’s #BasicResearch Chatter. Jackie Sukup, Kristen Solada, and Phil Gibber joined us and filled the hour with tons of information about the program and it’s requirements.

We’ll start off by introducing our guests and then move onto the meat and potatoes of ESEP. First up is Jackie Sukup who is the Air Force ESEP Manager and is responsible for managing placement of both military and civilian personnel participating in the international science and engineering exchange program overseas as well as international participants in the United States.

Kristen Solada is the ESEP Manager for the International Armaments Cooperation Division (SAF/IAPC) within the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force, International Affairs (SAF/IA). She joined the SAF/IAPC team in October 2020.

Last, but certainly not least, is Phil Gibber who has led ESEP at AFOSR for 25 years. The wealth of knowledge that he brings is undeniable.

Now that we’ve introduced some of the people behind ESEP, let’s delve into the ins and outs of the program. ESEP is a Department of Defense effort to promote international cooperation in military research, development, and acquisition through the exchange of defense scientists and engineers.

“International cooperation is very important. We can accomplish [more] through increased collaboration.”

— Leon Plouviez

An example of ESEP promoting international cooperation can be found in this article from AFRL.

1963 saw the creation of ESEP and the first agreement was with Germany! ESEP provides on-site working assignments for U.S. military and civilian engineers and scientists in allied and friendly governments’ organizations and reciprocal assignment of foreign Ministry of Defense engineers and scientists in U.S. defense establishments. Some of the primary goals of ESEP are to broaden perspectives in research and development techniques and methods, form a cadre of internationally experienced professionals to enhance U.S. Air Force research and development programs, and cultivate future international cooperative endeavors.

ESEP offers a modern day adventure without the risks and perils associated with one like Shackleton’s arctic explorations. ESEP offers opportunities for career development, learning a language, and working with other world-class scientists on important projects. Language Training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) is typically 6 months prior to and in addition to the 2-year ESEP tour. It’s highly recommended and you can learn more HERE.

The Air Force Research Lab’s (AFRL) International Office is responsible for managing placement of ESEP exchanges within the U.S. Air Force for the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, providing policy guidance. The ESEP Call for Applications is sent once a year via an Air Force MyPers automatic message to all scientists and engineer civilians (GS-12 and above) and military (1st Lt-Major) personnel, respectively, and contains program information, requirements and application suspense information. Announcements are released at different times, through disparate routes. An example is civilian solicitation is released under Civilian Developmental Education (CDE) Call for Nominations. Applicant template and supporting documents are on MyPers and the Air Force International Affairs website.

Eligibility requirements for U.S. Department of Defense Civilians and Active Duty U.S. Military interested in applying for ESEP are listed below.

ESEP is one of the few opportunities for Department of Defense military and civilian members of the science and engineering community to go overseas and achieve a unique career broadening experience. Below is an illustration of the process.

International partners interested in applying for ESEP should reach out (and/or) coordinate with their international focal point. Every country has its own procedure for requesting placement.

For International applicants – 3 steps to participate in ESEP:

  1. Contact your international focal point
  2. Get approval from your organization
  3. Submit the proper paperwork

As an International Partner applicant, you’ll need to follow these requirements to apply for ESEP.

Here is a sample timeline of one ESEP participant’s experience and perspective with nomination, language training, change of station, and assignment.

ESEP participants have the opportunity to join a unique community of international engineers and scientists with access to insights from seasoned Air Force ESEP alumni. ESEP is a highly competitive program with only six candidates selected each year — it’s a chance to grow in your career and give back to the Air Force.

Captain Matthew Masters, assigned to the Institute of Flight Systems at the Universität der Bundeswehr München working on adaptive assistant systems in a helicopter simulator, says “I’m grateful for the ESEP program and the connections I’ve made with industry, academia, and to continuing work with AFRL as well.” Capt Masters encourages anyone who participates in ESEP to make sure they take advantage of the full 6 months at DLIFLC and definitely take in the sights at your location. Maybe even take up a new hobby – like hang gliding.

ESEP participant Jaime Bestard published a paper on his robotics and nanotechnology research, you can read it HERE.

“It was really truly a great assignment!”

Air Force ESEP participant, Jaime Bestard

Some advice from Bestard:

  1. Save roughly 3 months of your income before you start your tour.
  2. Know yourself, engage your colleagues and management in country, be a proactive and friendly face.
  3. Travel and explore your host country and beyond.

Email Jackie Sukup, Kristen Solada, and Phil Gibber to inquire about applying at ESEP.

A new pilot program this year is the Short Term Exchange Program (STEP). Assignments are for 179 days or less. Selections are decided on mutually beneficial technology areas, with assignments in Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia. As more interest occurs countries will be added.

Our second new pilot program this year is the Innovative Teaming Exchange (ITEx) with an emphasis on team projects in the technology area of modeling simulation and analysis (MS&A). Currently it is only taking place in the United Kingdom.

To learn more about ESEP, watch Jackie Sukup’s presentation during the How to Engage with AFRL Research Ecosystem: International Edition webinar.

Have questions about ESEP? Reply to this post in the comments or check out our candidate FAQ’s.

What are the best ways to stay connected to AFOSR?



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Thank you for joining us to learn more about ESEP! We hope we have made doing business with us a little more transparent. Join us for our next AFOSR #BasicResearch Chatter event highlighting our HBCU program.

#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 — 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).