Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship Program

Funding Agency:
Office of Naval Research

The Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF) program is sponsored by the Basic Research Office, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD (R&E)). VBFF supports innovative basic research within academia, as well as opportunities intended to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers for the defense workforce.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) manages the VBFF program for USD (R&E). To accomplish this task, ONR is soliciting proposals for the VBFF program through this FOA. This FOA seeks distinguished researchers for the purpose of conducting innovative basic research in areas of interest to the DoD and fostering long-term relationships between the VBFF Fellows and the DoD.

VBFF is oriented towards bold and ambitious “blue sky” research that may lead to extraordinary outcomes such as revolutionizing entire disciplines, creating entirely new fields, or disrupting accepted theories and perspectives.

Objectives of the program are to:

• Support unclassified basic scientific and engineering research that could be the foundation for future revolutionary new capabilities for DoD

• Educate and train student and post-doctoral researchers for the defense workforce

• Foster long-term relationships between university researchers and the DoD

• Familiarize university researchers and their students with DoD’s current and projected future challenges

• Increase the number of talented technical experts that DoD can call upon


  • Acqutrak Registration: Aug. 26, 2020
  • White Papers: Aug. 28, 2020
  • Invited Full Proposal: Jan. 15, 2021

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

This FOA is for single investigator grant proposals for basic research in one or more of the following technical subject categories of interest to the DoD.

  • Applied Mathematics and Computational Science
  • Networks and Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Fundamentals of Bioengineering
  • Quantum Information Science
  • Electronics, Photonics and Quantum Materials
  • Engineered Materials and Structures
  • Other Fields of Research

Eligibility Requirements

Only accredited U.S. institutions of higher education (universities) with doctoral degree- granting programs are eligible to apply. DoD institutions are not eligible to apply.

Faculty with tenure and full-time research staff with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to conduct the proposed research as the principal investigator (PI) are invited to submit an application. Applicants should have a record of substantial scientific contributions. The PI must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Number of Applications: The PI may submit only one (1) application in response to this FOA. There is no limit to the number of applications that an institution may submit.



Amount Description

It is anticipated that awards will be made in the form of grants to U.S. institutions of higher education (universities). It is anticipated an individual maximum award value will be $3 million for five (5) years, with the actual amount contingent on availability of funds, the specific topic, and the scope of the proposed work.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

August 26, 2020