Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Department of Defense Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative -- ONR

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The Department of Defense (DoD) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), one element of the University Research Initiative (URI), is sponsored by the DoD research offices. Those offices include the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Army Research Office (ARO), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) (hereafter collectively referred to as "DoD agencies"). 

DOD's MURI program addresses high risk basic research and attempts to understand or achieve something that has never been done before. The program was initiated over 25 years ago and it has regularly produced significant scientific breakthroughs with far reaching consequences to the fields of science, economic growth, and revolutionary new military technologies. Key to the program’s success is the close management of the MURI projects by Service program officers and their active role in providing research guidance. 


  • White Papers: June 1, 2020
  • Applications: September 14, 2020

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

White papers and proposals addressing the following topics should be submitted to the Office of Naval Research (ONR):

  • Topic 1: Molecular Qubits for Synthetic Electronics
  • Topic 2: A Brain-based Compositional Framework for Robust Computer Vision
  • Topic 3: Littoral Ocean Dynamics off Rocky Coasts and Shorelines
  • Topic 4: Fog and Turbulence
  • Topic 5: Dynamic Tuning of Thermal Transport
  • Topic 6: Chemically and Thermally Insensitive Super/Ultra-Hard Materials
  • Topic 7: Narrative, Moral and Social Foundations of Social Cyber-Attack in Social Media
  • Topic 8: A Dynamics and Control Theory of Safe, Cognitive and Learning Systems
  • Topic 9: Understanding Turbulence-Chemistry Interactions in Non-Equilibrium, High-Speed Flows
  • Topic 10: Predicting Organic Molecular Decomposition 

Eligibility Requirements

This MURI competition is open only to, and proposals are to be submitted only by, U.S. institutions of higher education (universities) with degree-granting programs in science and/or engineering, including DoD institutions of higher education. To the extent that it is a part of a U.S. institution of higher education and is not designated as a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) or other University Affiliated Laboratory (UAL) is eligible to submit a proposal to this MURI competition and/or receive MURI funds. Ineligible organizations (e.g., industry, DoD laboratories, FFRDCs, and foreign entities) may collaborate on the research but may not receive MURI funds directly or via subaward.



Amount Description

The total amount of funding for the five years available for grants resulting from this MURI FOA is estimated to be approximately $180 million dollars pending out-year appropriations. MURI awards are contingent on availability of funds, the specific topic, and the scope of the proposed work. Typical annual funding per grant is in the $1.25M to $1.5M range. The amount of the award and the number of supported researchers should generally not exceed the limit specified for the individual topics in Section II. I.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Social Sciences

External Deadline

September 14, 2020