Rice University
National Security Research Accelerator

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The Rice University National Security Research Accelerator (RUNSRA) is setting the stage for bringing new, disruptive research technologies — transformative research — to the National Security enterprise so that it can increase its current and future capabilities. Based on initial funding from the United States Army, RUNSRA is structured to encourage multidisciplinary partnerships across our campus by matching the right people and capabilities to meet specific challenges. These partnerships between world-class researchers at Rice and other institutions will help define innovative paths for modernization of the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. RUNSRA researchers will work closely with their counterparts in government and academic laboratories. Transition of research results will be enabled by constant communications between researchers in our laboratories and users in the national security enterprise, including industry and small businesses. Future support will come from the three Services, DARPA, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and other Agencies.

The mission of the Rice University National Security Research Accelerator (RUNSRA) is to enhance national security by accelerating the discovery, development, and transition of technologies into military and civilian applications through scientific and engineering collaborations with academia, business, industry, and government partners.

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The global threat landscape is increasingly complex for United States Army operations. While the primary mission for our forces is to deter, we must also be prepared to prevail through strategic and tactical overmatch. Overmatch can only be achieved by the timely deployment of critical new technologies and capabilities that are directly linked to Army modernization goals. The 2019 Army Modernization Strategy seeks a completely modernized and skilled force capable of conducting Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) by the year 2028 for single theater operations and across multiple theaters by 2035. To achieve the MDO 2028 and 2035 operational capabilities, the Army Futures Command (AFC) identified six modernization goals: long range precision fires, next generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, network, air and missile defense, and Soldier lethality. As a global leader in advanced materials, Rice University was chosen by AFC to partner with the Army Research Lab (ARL) to realize their goals for new materials and network technologies. Advanced materials underlie the vast majority of new and emerging technologies including semiconductors, communications networks, batteries, computation, energetic materials and even emerging fields such as synthetic biology. We can now manipulate, control and functionalize new materials at the atomic scale. These new materials will revolutionize nearly all aspects of technology. The ARL-Rice University partnership is an integrative research pipeline with two stages: (i) a fundamental scientific emphasis on nanoscale and atomic-level structure for new functionalized materials; and (ii) a focused innovative approach to deliver these discoveries into devices that can allow Warfighters to sense, control, and connect to the world around them. The realization of these goals fundamentally begins with the development of advanced and quantum materials with superior properties, which ultimately drives the capabilities of downstream innovations such as autonomous networking or less CO2-emitting, cleaner-burning fuels and propellants.