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NSF 11-036

Dear Colleague Letter: Potential Expanded Scope of Academic Research Initiative (ARI) of Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and National Science Foundation

Directorate for Engineering
Office of the Assistant Director

Dear Colleague:

The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) intend to re-issue their joint ARI solicitation as early as possible in 2011, with consideration of an expanded scope.  The topic areas still emphasize fundamental research supporting the detection of nuclear and radiological materials, but a revised third topic now encompasses research supporting effective response and recovery following a nuclear or radiological terrorist event.  The solicitation is intended to capture the benefits of cross-disciplinary approaches to the challenges posed by these difficult missions.  Note that the intent to expand the scope of this year’s solicitation is tied to the FY11 Federal budget.  A final announcement will be made by early March as to whether proposals addressing response and recovery research will be considered as part of this year’s solicitation.

The overarching goals of the ARI program remain the same: 1) to advance fundamental knowledge for nuclear detection and related sciences and 2) develop human capital for the nuclear science and engineering profession.  This expanded scope is intended to support a continuum of research endeavors that move from detection and interdiction through response, recovery and forensics.  In addition to nuclear engineering and sciences, other disciplines including systems theory, network design, psychology, sociology, computational intelligence, and others, may provide unique and promising approaches to research in these areas. 

In order to encourage new ideas and cross-cutting partnerships, NSF intends to set up a Wiki, a social networking vehicle, for this topic.  On the Wiki, principal investigators in one discipline will be able to raise possible research approaches requiring comments or collaborators from other disciplines, and obtain feedback or comments from possible collaborators.  New applicants are strongly encouraged to register for this Wiki.

The Wiki will be accessible at for first-time users who must register for an account. Once registered, users will be directed to the main page of the NSF Wiki. From the main page menu, users should click the link for this activity to access the Home page for “ARI.” Users will then need to read and agree to the Terms and Conditions for use of the “ARI” Wiki space before gaining access. Registered users with an account may access the "Overview" page at


Thomas W. Peterson
Assistant Director for Engineering
National Science Foundation