UCSD professors winning Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grants from the Pentagon are (from left) Jorge Cortés, Kenneth “Ken” Loh and Yu-Hwa Lo. Images via UCSD

UC San Diego has won just over $1 billion in Department of Defense grants since 2009, with its three latest recipients accounting for nearly $23 million.

The Pentagon recently announced grants of nearly $49 million under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. They’ll go to 172 university researchers at 91 institutions across 40 states in fiscal year 2020.

Three UCSD professors are on the list:

  • Jorge Cortés for “Enabling Closed-Loop Learning on Resource-Constrained Robot Teams” via the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
  • Kenneth “Ken” Loh for “Warfighter Digital Twin for Prehabilitation: Integration of Full-Field Motion Capture with Emerging Wearable” via the Office of Naval Research.
  • And Yu-Hwa Lo for “Broad Spectrum Characterization of Cycling Excitation Process (CEP) Detectors” via the Office of Naval Research.

Cortés is a professor with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and his five grants for UCSD work over the years totaling $8.9 million, the school said.

Loh is a professor of structural engineering, whose 16 grants over the years with UCSD total $13.1 million.

And Lo is a professor of electrical and computer engineering with research interests in biomedical devices and systems, bioelectronics, microfluidics, nanophotonics and semiconductor nanoscaled devices. His three DOD grants have totaled $915,000.

“These awards provide research infrastructure to enable the most creative scientific minds in the country to extend the boundaries of science and technology,” said Mitch Nikolich, director of defense research and engineering for research and technology.

“The awards will maintain the cutting-edge capabilities of our universities and the outstanding training of our STEM workforce. They will facilitate scientific advances that will support unprecedented military capabilities for our country.”

The annual DURIP award process is considered highly competitive.

The program is administered through a merit competition jointly conducted by the Army Research Office, Office of Naval Research and Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

The Department seeks specific proposals from university investigators conducting foundational science and engineering research of importance to national defense.

In the fiscal year 2020 competition, the three military service research offices received 724 proposals requesting nearly $295 million in funding, the Pentagon said.

Selections made by the service research offices are subject to successful completion of negotiations with the academic institutions.

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