Engineering professors receive MURI grants

by William G. Gilroy

Patrick Fay and Harindra Joseph S. Fernando

Two University of Notre Dame College of Engineering professors have received highly competitive grants for multidisciplinary research.

Patrick Fay, professor of electrical engineering, and Harindra Joseph S. Fernando, Wayne and Diana Murdy Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, won Department of Defense (DoD) Multidisciplinary Research Initiative (MURI) grants to lead multi-institutional efforts in their respective fields. The Department of Defense awarded $191 million in grants through the MURI program this year covering 25 topics.

“MURIs are an important vehicle for engaging the brightest researchers on ideas with major impact for the department,” said Zachery J. Lemnios, assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering. “These projects constitute significant investments in multidisciplinary research with the potential for making rapid progress in cutting-edge science. DoD relies on such programs in line with our science and technology priorities, to pave the way for revolutionary breakthroughs supporting tomorrow’s warfighter.”

Fay received a $6.3 million grant to develop electronic devices operating in the terahertz range. Terahertz waves are electromagnetic waves with frequencies higher than microwaves but lower than infrared radiation and visible light. They possess many advantages for applications in communications and medical imaging, as well as security detection of chemical agents and weapons.

Fernando received a $7.3 million grant to develop fundamental knowledge that helps improve forecasting models of weather in mountainous terrain. These models will focus on aviation and defense operations planning in areas of complex topography, paying attention to severe weather phenomena and the nighttime boundary layer of the atmosphere.