National Security Information
Northeastern designates a large amount of resources to research related to National Security. Important resources for funding research at Northeastern come from Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Army Research Office among others. Recently, Northeastern Alum, George J. Kostas, E'43, H'07, donated $12 million to build a homeland security research facility on our Burlington campus. The new institute will be built to Defense Department standards and will allow Northeastern to conduct research in areas including data security, information assurance, explosive detection, and energy harvesting. In addition to the new Kostas Institute, in 2008, the Department of Homeland Security selected Northeastern as one of eleven universities nationwide for a Center of Excellence, providing a $10 million grant to establish the Center for Awareness and Localization of Explosive-Related Threats (ALERT).
Homeland Security Centers of Excellence
The Department of Homeland Security has selected twelve schools to be named a Homeland Security Center of Excellence (HS-Centers), recognizing institutions where leading experts and researchers to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions. It is an honor to have been selected, as Northeastern was, as each center must be authorized by Congress and chosen by the Department's Science and Technology Directorate. Northeastern was chosen to establish the center for Awareness and Location of Explosive- Related Threats (ALERT). Along with the University of Rhode Island, Northeastern researchers will develop new means and methods to resolve threats by explosives: detecting leave-behind Improvised Explosive Devices, enhancing aviation cargo security, providing next-generation baggage screening, detecting liquid explosive, and enhancing suspicious passenger identification.
Recently, however, Congress has been preparing to make severe budget cuts to the Department of Homeland Security. Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun sent a letter to Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown on March 7, 2011 urging the preservation of these funds in order to protect the Center of Excellence program. Read more.
Kostas Research Institute
Northeastern's new George J. Kostas Research Institute was designed in accordance with Department of Defense standards and will give Northeastern the capacity and clearances to conduct restricted-area research in arenas critical to national security, including cryptography, data security, information assurance, detection of explosives, and energy harvesting.
George Kostas, a Northeastern alumnus, donated $12 million in September 2010 for the institute, claiming that he hopes "the research projects performed inside [the] building will help the US armed forces protect our Constitution." Projects could include anything from developing new attire for soldiers that provides both comfort and protection, or a project to increase speed of airborne objects. With benefactors such as George Kostas, more research becomes possible at Northeastern, hopefully leading increase research funding support and better solutions in the area of National Security.
The Institute was opened in September 2011.
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense supports a large margin of research in order to advance innovations in national security. The DoD designated research into seven categories, each one assigned a numerical number. Work conducted at research universities typically falls in the science and technology categories: basic research (6.1), applied research (6.2), and advanced technology development (6.3). In 2009, the DoD pledged to invest an additional $400 million over the next five years to supporting basic research at academic institutions in order to "foster fundamental discoveries related to the DoD's most challenging technical problems." Northeastern would not be able to carry out our mission of use-inspired research to tackle issues of national security or global challenges without the DoDs commitment to basic research.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
DARPA is the research and development office for the US Department of Defense created in the late 50s in reaction to the Soviet satellite Sputnik. The organization outlines in their mission the necessity to "maintain technological superiority of the US military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national security." The research that DARPA funds at Northeastern is designed to combat the challenges to national security. In order to accomplish DARPA's and Northeastern's mission of military technological innovation, we have multiple research centers that are involved in research.
Pictured to the right: Srinivas Sridhar, director of Northeastern's Electronic Materials Research Institute (EMRI), will lead the research and development of a nanotechnology-based electric field sensor. This research is funded by a $1.5 million subcontract award Northeastern University received in December of 2010.
Army Research Office (ARO)
Similar to DARAP, ARO is dedicated to guaranteeing that the United States remains technologically superior and is the Army's premiere "extramural basic research agency" in various fields of study including engineering, physics, or life sciences. Research proposals from Northeastern among other non-profit institutions are carefully reviewed, some are selected, and then projects are funded. The ARO is part of an umbrella agency, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), which was established in 1992.