Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF) program

The Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF) program is sponsored by the Basic Research Office, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD (R&E)). VBFF supports innovative basic research within academia, as well as opportunities intended to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers for the defense workforce.

The VBFF is a rewarding program for tenured faculty and supports bold and ambitious “blue sky” research that may lead to extraordinary outcomes such as revolutionizing entire disciplines, creating entirely new fields, or disrupting accepted theories and perspectives.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) manages the VBFF program for ASD (R&E). To accomplish this task, ONR is soliciting proposals for the VBFF program through this FOA. This FOA seeks distinguished researchers for the purpose of conducting innovative basic research in areas of interest to the DoD and fostering long-term relationships between the VBFF Fellows and the DoD. As defined by the DoD, basic research is “systematic study directed toward greater knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind. It includes all scientific study and experimentation directed toward increasing fundamental knowledge and understanding in those fields of the physical, engineering, environmental, and life sciences related to long-term national security needs. It is farsighted high payoff research that provides the basis for technological progress.”

The DoD’s basic research program invests broadly in many scientific fields to ensure that it has early cognizance of new scientific knowledge. VBFF is oriented towards bold and ambitious “blue sky” research that may lead to extraordinary outcomes such as revolutionizing entire disciplines, creating entirely new fields, or disrupting accepted theories and perspectives. Objectives of the program are to: • Support unclassified basic scientific and engineering research that could be the foundation for future revolutionary new capabilities for DoD • Educate and train student and post-doctoral researchers for the defense workforce • Foster long-term relationships between university researchers and the DoD • Familiarize university researchers and their students with DoD’s current and projected future challenges • Increase the number of talented technical experts that DoD can call upon. This FOA is for single investigator grant proposals for basic research in one or more of the following technical subject categories of interest to the DoD:

1. Engineering Biology

2. Quantum Information Science

3. Cognitive Neuroscience

4. Novel Engineered Materials

5. Applied Mathematics (theory and experiments) and Statistics

6. Manufacturing Science

7. Other fields of research with high potential.

All awardees will receive a research grant and the title of VBFF Fellow. VBFF Fellows and their students are provided with opportunities that are designed to enhance their understanding of DoD’s critical research needs and interact with DoD senior Science and Technology (S&T) program leaders. Fellows and their students are expected to attend VBFF activities scheduled throughout the year. These activities may include an orientation meeting, site visits to DoD labs, technical workshops, and an annual meeting to report the progress of VBFF–sponsored research. VBFF Fellows may also be encouraged to serve as members of DoD advisory boards, panels, or groups. For a list of current VBFF Fellows, refer to:

Eligible Individuals

​Faculty with tenure and full-time research staff with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to conduct the proposed research as the principal investigator (PI) are invited to submit an application. Applicants should have a record of substantial scientific contributions. The PI must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

The PI may submit only one (1) application in response to this FOA. There is no limit to the number of applications that an institution may submit


Acqutrak Registration: Aug. 14, 2017

White Papers: Aug. 16, 2017

Invited Full Proposal: Jan. 8, 2018