About

Mission and Organization

ALERT seeks to conduct transformational research, develop technology, and provide educational development to improve effective characterization, detection, mitigation and response to explosives-related threats facing the country and the world.

A multi-university, Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence (COE), the ALERT Center is a partnership made up of national and international academic, industrial and government entities.

Researchers in this partnership bring strengths in advanced sensor design, standoff weak-target detection, signal processing, sensor integration, explosives characterization, improvised explosive device (IED) detonator signatures, shock physics, and material science.

This expertise, combined with resources from national lab affiliates and other industrial and government partners, form a team capable of carrying out the daunting ALERT mission.

The ALERT research program is driven by inspiring challenges

Providing ultra-reliable screening, improving the ability to detect explosives at a distance, and providing seamless transition of research to the field are among the real-world challenges the center looks to impact. These challenges have defined our four core fundamental science research thrusts:

We strive to build an outstanding educational program

Our program includes pre-college, undergraduate, graduate and career professional components. The center offers a High-Tech Tools and Toys Lab for both community college students and college freshmen, an Engineering Leadership Program focusing on Department of Homeland Security Topics, and workshops and short courses that present new technologies related to threat detection and mitigation for first responders such as the Secret Service, Transportation Safety Administration, police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians.

Bringing Research to Reality

ALERT partners closely with industry in order to transition research into fieldable systems. The Center accomplishes this by working closely with partners and researchers to identify opportunities, pursuing joint proposals, and collaborative conferences like the Research and Industrial Collaboration Conference. By seamlessly linking industry, government and academic partners, ALERT creates powerful collaborations that successfully transition technology.

A Homeland Security Center of Excellence

The Homeland Security Centers of Excellence bring together leading experts and researchers to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions.

The centers are authorized by Congress and chosen by the Department’s Science & Technology Directorate through a competitive selection process. Each center is led by a university in collaboration with partners from other institutions, agencies, laboratories, think tanks, and the private sector.

Range Day at Texas Tech

Since the inception of ALERT, Professors Brandon Weeks and Lousia Hope-Weeks have actively shared their explosives handling knowledge to train local first responders. More…

Innovation Fast Track

EXCLUSIVE TO CENTER MEMBERS: Log in to explore your Innovation Fast Track, an online portal that gives you one-stop access to center researchers, funding opportunities, exclusive events and more.

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Student Central

Students, get connected with Industry Partners, find out about research and volunteer opportunities within ALERT, or get advice on how to best showcase your work at Student Central.

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The Partnership

ALERT is led by Northeastern University (NEU) and includes three key academic strategic partners: Boston University, Purdue University, and University of Rhode Island (URI).

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