AFOSR awards $21.5M to scientists, engineers via Young Investigator Program

January 12th, 2024

Original Article

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Air Force Office of Scientific Research, or AFOSR, the basic research arm of the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, will award approximately $21.5 million in grants to 48 scientists and engineers from 36 institutions and businesses in 20 states under the fiscal year 2024 Young Investigator Program, or YIP.  

According to Ellen Robinson, AFOSR YIP program manager, AFOSR received 159 proposals for FY24 funding.  

“Through the YIP, the Department of the Air Force fosters creative basic research in science and engineering, enhances early career development of outstanding young investigators and increases opportunities for the young investigators to engage in forwarding the Department of the Air Force, or DAF mission and related challenges in science and engineering,” Robinson said.  

YIP recipients receive three-year grants of up to $450,000. The program is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are scientists and engineers at U.S. research institutions. Individuals must have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last seven years and show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research of DAF relevance. Award selections are subject to the successful completion of negotiations with academic institutions and businesses. 

For the first time, AFOSR offered astrodynamics and high-energy radiation-matter systems as a selection for research discipline under their YIP funding opportunity announcement to replace former research portfolio laser and optical physics. 

Robinson reports 11 Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research institutions or DEPSCoRs, and six minority-serving institutions, to include two Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, or AANAPISIs, and four AANAPISI Hispanic Serving Institutions will be awarded for the FY24 YIP program.  

The unique mission of AFRL/AFOSR is accomplished with the support of university research in addition to providing exceptional training grounds for developing and mentoring future scientists and advancing our national defense and economic security. Key partnerships through Air Force special and educational programs like YIP expand scientific knowledge and explore high-risk basic research with the potential to transition into discovery and development that profoundly impacts the future Air and Space Force, according to the U.S. Air Force basic research program website.   

“The AFOSR YIP program enables young scientists and engineers the opportunity to explore ideas that perhaps would not be looked at by other funding agencies,” said Dr. Patrick Bradshaw, AFOSR program officer for human performance and biosystems. “I use this program as a starting point for new, unique ideas.  Invariably, the young investigators’ presentation will be talked about at my program review and other investigators will invite the young investigator to work with them on new projects. The YIP spurs new, unique ideas and starts interesting avenues of study.” 

To view the list of FY24 winning proposals, click here.