The US Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently issued a potential $58 million, over five years, in grant opportunities for colleges and universities that will focus on detection systems, individual sensors or other research relevant to the detection of nuclear weapons, special nuclear material, radiation dispersal devices and related threats. The program, called the Academic Research Initiative, will foster frontier research and build the nation’s intellectual capital in nuclear sciences, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, and is meant to encourage long-term, transformational advances in nuclear detection technology. “This Academic Research Initiative is a critical element in building the nation’s intellectual capital in nuclear detection capability,” said DNDO Director Vayl S. Oxford. “Continued advances in science and technology are a key element in the long-term effort to protect the nation against nuclear attacks.” Proposals submitted to NSF through the Fastlane electronic system, or through Grants.gov, will be reviewed through NSF’s merit-based process using panels of peer reviewers and experts recruited jointly by NSF and the DNDO. Seven NSF units will participate in the effort, including five directorates and two additional offices. "Spanning multiple academic disciplines, this broad expertise will form a comprehensive platform for fundamental research on domestic nuclear detection," the DHS said. The DHS also recently announced $12 million in funding opportunities that will establish four moreuniversity-based Centers of Excellence in the areas of explosives detection, mitigation and response; border security and immigration; maritime, island and extreme/remote environment security; and natural disasters, coastal infrastructure and emergency management. Managed by the science and technology directorate’s Office of University Programs, the Centers of Excellence exercise the capabilities of the nation’s colleges and universities to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions. The centers are authorized by Congress and chosen by DHS through a competitive selection process. The planned topics for the new centers match growing needs within DHS for basic, university-based research. The Directorate for Science and Technology (S&T Directorate) is the primary research and development arm for DHS.At present, there are seven Centers of Excellence: The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) at the University of Southern California, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD) at the University of Minnesota, the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD) at Texas A&M University; the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER) at Johns Hopkins University, the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA) at Michigan State University, and University Affiliate Centers to the Institute for Discrete Sciences (IDS-UACs), led by Rutgers University. Accredited universities and other institutions of higher learning based in the US are eligible to apply. For more information, visit: www.grants.gov.