Research Funding Opportunities

5:30 PM–8:00 PM Apr 2, 2018 (America - Denver)

PCC North, 100 Level, Room 122 A


The Research Funding Opportunities session now provides more interaction between government agency presenters and MRS Membership. Invited talks will consist of a 20-minute introduction centered on the overall focus of the agency's materials science research efforts, programmatic descriptions of how to collaborate or apply and other general details. These talks will be followed by roundtable Q&A sessions with the individual program managers.


Pani (Chakrapani) Varanasi, Division Chief
Materials Science Division—U.S. Army Research Office
Basic Research Programs at the Materials Science Division of the Army Research Office

The Materials Science Division of the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO) seeks to discover unprecedented material properties by embracing innovative, long-term, high risk, high-payoff basic research opportunities for the U.S. Army. The division currently has five programs: materials design, mechanical behavior of materials, physical properties of materials, synthesis and processing, and innovations in materials (an international program). The new discoveries of materials with extraordinary properties are of great interest to the division since these materials are essential for the development of revolutionary devices and systems for future Army soldiers. In this presentation, an overview of the current research thrusts and a summary of the various funding opportunities for basic research will be discussed. For more details about the ARO programs, please visit the ARO website. Broad agency announcements can be found at

About Pani (Chakrapani) Varanasi
Pani Varanasi is the Materials Science Division Chief/Program Manager at the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO). He also conducts research in the area of functional materials at Duke University as adjunct faculty. He received his PhD degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1994. Prior to joining ARO, he has worked at APL Engineered Materials, Inc./Advanced Lighting Technologies, Inc., and at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI)/Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB). He has authored/co-authored more than 100 papers, 1 book chapter, and 4 patents in the area of functional materials.

Linda Horton, Division Director for Materials Sciences and Engineering
U.S. Department of Energy—Office of Science
Overview of Research Opportunities—Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences

The presentation will provide an overview of the fundamental materials research activities, including national user facilities for materials sciences research, that are supported by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES). Research opportunities identified by recent workshops, including quantum materials and ultrafast science will be discussed. The application process and opportunities for white papers will be overviewed, as well as the online resources for principal investigators. For additional information, visit the BES website.

About Linda Horton
Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Linda Horton was the Director for the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one of the five Basic Energy Sciences (BES) national user facilities for nanoscale science research. Under her leadership, the CNMS grew from its opening in FY2006 to have a strong, interdisciplinary scientific program, which hosts a vibrant user community that reached over 400 users in FY2008. Horton also was the Project Director for the CNMS facility construction.

Bindu Nair, Deputy Director, Basic Research Office
U.S. Department of Defense
Basic Research Funding Opportunities at the Department of Defense

New materials are a critical enabler of future defense capabilities and rely on a robust knowledge base provided by basic research. The Basic Research Office in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) oversees a $2 billion basic research portfolio, which spans multiple science and engineering disciplines including materials science. The Office also sets research and grant policies, and executes high-impact programs with the Services and DoD Components. Flagship programs like the Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship support established investigators in their pursuit of high-risk, "blue sky" research, and have strongly supported innovative materials work. Pilot programs, such as I-Corps@DoD and the Laboratory-University Research Initiative, try new ways to support different aspects of the innovation process and engage researchers inside and outside the DoD. Through these investments, the Basic Research Office aims to enrich the basic research ecosystem and foster creativity and new ideas in materials research.

About Bindu Nair
Bindu Nair is currently the Deputy Director of the Basic Research Office within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). In this role, she is responsible for oversight and coordination of the Department’s $2.2 billion investment in basic science. She previously served as the Deputy Director of the Human Performance, Training and Biosystems Directorate, also within OSD. Prior to her assignment to OSD, Nair worked for the U.S. Department of the Army with oversight responsibilities over the science and technology program in power and energy. She has worked in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) laboratory system at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center as well as in private industry at Foster Miller. Her research expertise is in the field of Materials Science and Engineering including nanomaterials, polymers and organic electronic materials. Nair has published primarily in the membrane and materials development fields and holds patents in fuel cell technologies.  She holds a BSc degree from the University of Florida and a PhD degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Materials Science and Engineering.