Illinois engineering professors lead panel on successful MURIs


Khushboo Jain, ECE ILLINOIS

The Office of Proposal Development hosted a Multidisciplinary University of Research Initiative (MURI) discussion panel on October 26, 2016, which included ECE ILLINOIS Professor James Gary Eden, Professor and Director of the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, Paul Braun, and Professor and Head of the Department of Material Science and Engineering, David Cahill.

James Gary Eden
James Gary Eden
The panel shared their experiences winning MURI grants, detailing the steps others should take to be considered. Eden said, “There is no substitute for being engaged in research with great people and doing research of current interest that is pioneering in the field. Young people in the audience who are thinking about this are doing the right thing by being involved and being a part of professional societies, meeting distinguished individuals in the field.” Eden also noted that ECE ILLINOIS’ Peter D Dragic is the youngest person on his team.

Eden is the PI for a multi-year laser project funded through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. His group’s MURI funding for the “Internal Cooling of Fiber and Disk Lasers by Radiation Balancing and Other Phonon Processes” is a collaboration with researchers from Clemson University, Stanford University, and University of Michigan. During the panel discussion, he emphasized the importance of having a strong and collaborative team. “I told them [colleagues at Stanford University] that they make me look good. And that’s the key: surround yourself with people who make you look good.”

Earlier this year, when the Department of Defense announced its initial selection of 21 advanced science and engineering research projects for its FY16 MURIs, Illinois researchers were included as principal investigators (PIs) or co-PIs in one third of the projects proposed by the nation's top research institutions. The announcement explained that the highly competitive MURI program complements other DoD basic research efforts that support traditional, single-investigator university research grants by supporting multidisciplinary teams with larger and longer awards in carefully chosen research topics identified for their potential for significant and sustained progress.