HomeNewsArticle Display

AFOSR Awards Grants to 45 Scientists and Engineers through its Young Investigator Research Program

AFRL Heritage Logo

AFRL Heritage Logo

ARLINGTON, Virginia -- The Air Force Office of Scientific Research today announced it will award approximately $19.9 million in grants to 45 scientists and engineers from 38 research institutions and small businesses who submitted winning research proposals through the Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP). 

The YIP is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.

The objective of this program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

This year, AFOSR received over 280 proposals in response to the AFOSR YIP broad agency announcement (BAA) solicitation, BAA-AFRL-2017-0002. These technical areas included: Aerospace Materials for Extreme Environments, Aerothermodynamics, Atomic and  Molecular Physics, Biophysics, Computational Cognition and Machine, Computational Mathematics, Data Driven Applications Systems, Dynamics and Control, Dynamics Materials and Interactions, Electromagnetics and Sensing, Surveillance and Navigation, Energy Conversion and Combustion Sciences, Flow Interactions and Control, GHz-THz Electronics, Human Performance and Biosystems,  Information Operations and Security, Laser and Optical Physics, Low Density Materials, Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Microsystems, Molecular Dynamics and Theoretical Chemistry,  
Multi-Scale Structural Mechanics and Prognosis, Natural Materials and Systems, Optimization and Discrete Mathematics, Optoelectronics and Physics,  Organic Materials Chemistry,  Quantum Electronic Solids,  Quantum Information Science, Remote Sensing and  Imaging, Science of Information, Computation and Fusion, Space Power and Propulsion,  Software and Systems, Test and Evaluation, and Turbulence and Transition.  


AFOSR program officers select proposals based on the evaluation criteria listed in the BAA. Those selected will receive the grant over a 3 year period totaling $450,000.  

The following recipients and their anticipated research areas are:


  • Dr. Daniel Adams, University of Colorado - Boulder, Real-Time Four Dimensional Hyperspectral Imaging of Plasmas and Filamentation
  • Dr. Taylor Barton, University of Colorado - Boulder, Reconfigurable Transmitters for Test & Evaluation with Integrated Thermal Monitoring and Control
  • Dr. Timothy Berkelbach, University of Chicago, Exciton Interactions in Semiconductor Nanostructures
  • Dr. Marco Bernardi, California Institute of Technology, Ab Initio Electron-Defect and Electron-Phonon Scattering for Understanding and Designing High-Mobility Semiconductors and Oxides
  • Dr. Bingni Brunton, University of Washington, Sparse Sensing with Wing Mechanosensory Neurons for Estimation of Body Rotation in Flying Insects
  •  Dr. Steven Brunton, University of Washington, Interpretable Nonlinear Models of Unsteady Flow Physics
  • Dr. William Fefferman, University of Maryland, Characterizing the Power of Experimentally Feasible Quantum Computation with Applications to Rigorous Security Guarantees for Quantum-safe Cryptography
  • Dr. Bryce Gadway, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, Studying Emergent Phenomena Driven by Interactions in a Momentum-space Lattice
  • Dr. Christopher Goldenstein, Purdue University, Characterization of Nanopropellant Combustion and Agglomerate-breakup Physics via Infrared Laser-absorption Imaging
  • Dr. Tingyi Gu, University of Delaware, Large Scale 2D Material - Active Silicon Photonics
  • Dr. Kentaro Hara, Texas A&M University, Theoretical Characterization of Electron Transport in Partially Magnetized Plasmas
  • Dr. Raluca Ilie, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, Determining the Contribution of Nitrogen to the Total Ionospheric Ion Outflow
  • Dr. Xiaocheng Jiang, Tufts University, Graphene Microfluidics for Dynamic, Electron Microscopic Bio-imaging
  • Dr. Taylor Johnson, Vanderbilt University, Understandable and Reusable Formal Verification for Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Dr. Julia Kalow, Northwestern University, Merging Reactivity and Properties: Photocontrolled Synthesis of ?-Conjugated Polymers
  • Dr. Sung Kang, Johns Hopkins University, Bioinspired Synthesis of Multifunctional Materials with Self-adaptable Mechanical Properties and Selfregeneration
  • Dr. Amin Karbasi, Yale University, Information Content of Big Data
  • Dr. Mikhail Kats, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Fully Passive and Ultra-Low-Power Technologies for Spectral Enhancement of Human Vision      
  • Dr. Nathaniel Kinsey, Virginia Commonwealth University, Enhancing Nonlinear Optical Interactions and Applications with Near-Zero-Index Materials
  • Dr. Frank Leibfarth, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Regioselective, C-H Xanthylation as a Platform Technology Polyolefin Functionalization
  • Dr. John Licato, University of South Florida, Active Formalization in Artificial and Human Reasoners
  • Dr. Richard Linares, University of Minnesota, Optimal Sensor Tasking through Deep Reinforcement Learning for Space Situational Awareness*
  • Dr. Joseph Maestas, Applied Research Associates, Inc., Numerically Predicting High Explosive Violent Response (HEVR) in Air Force Explosives
  • Dr. Zho Mao, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Multi-Layer Surrogate Modeling via Bayesian Approach and Non-Contact Full-Field Measurements
  • Dr. Reza Mirzaeifar, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ultra-high Strength Superelastic Transforming Metal Matrix-Graphene Composites
  • Dr. Colin Parker, Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Ultracold Atomic Kondo Impurities
  • Dr. Jason Patrick, North Carolina State University, Integrated Self-healing and Self-sensing using Optical Waveguides in Microvascular Fiber-Composites
  • Dr. Romeil Sandhu, Research Foundation for the State University of New York, 2D 3D Interactive Feedback Control for Autonomous Systems
  • Dr. Benjamin Sawyer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  Influencing Trust in Cybersecurity by Hacking the Human Factor
  • Dr. Carlo Scalo, Purdue University, Direct Numerical Simulation of Hypersonic Boundary Layer Transition over Distributed surface Porosity
  • Dr. Ashwin Shahani, University of Michigan, Directionally-Solidified Spiral Eutectics: Towards Chiral Metamaterials by Design
  • Dr. Jian Shi, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Nanoscale Pyroelectric Hybrid Materials Undergoing Structural Phase Transition
  • Dr. Anshumali Shrivastava, Rice University, Sub-Linear Algorithms for Learning and Sensing with Multiple Disparate and Ultra-High-Dimensional Dataset*
  • Dr. Mahdi Soltanolkotabi, University of Southern California, Learning Data Representations via Nonconvex Optimization
  • Dr. Rebecca Taylor, Carnegie Mellon University, PNA-Driven Remote Actuation of DNA Nanospring Strain Sensors
  • Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, Princeton University, Scalable Quantum Networks and Devices using Erbium Ions Integrated with Silicon Nanophotonics
  • Dr. Inna Vishik, University of California – Davis, The Electronic Ingredients for Oxide High-Tc: Making Connections Between Cuprates and Bismuthates
  • Dr. Chen Wang, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Controlling Propagation and Entanglement of Multi-photon Quantum States by Driven Dissipation
  • Dr. Qiming Wang, University of Southern California, Self-healable Lightweight Cellular Structures: Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctionality
  • Dr. Peng Zhang, Michigan State University, Understanding Ultrafast and Nanoscale Electron Emission and Transport
  • Dr. Peixiang Zhao, Florida State University, Graphs at your Fingertips: Managing and Summarizing Big Graphs
  • Dr. Xinyu Zhao, University of Connecticut, “Pockets” in Highly Turbulent Premixed Flames: Physics and Implications on Modeling
  • Dr. Bo Zhen, University of Pennsylvania, Non-Hermitian Topological Photonics
  • Dr. Xiayou Zheng, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Lightweight, elastic inorganic metamaterials: controlling flexibility and fracture toughness through hierarchical nano-architectures*
  • Dr. Wei Zhou, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Nano-Optoelectrodes Enabled Multimodal Optical-Electrical Interface inside Cells 

* YIP recipients originally omitted from original press release


For additional information on AFOSR YIP, send correspondence to Mrs. Ellen M. Robinson at afosryip@afosr.af.mil