Illindala wins Department of Defense YIP Award

Posted: March 9, 2016

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ECE Assistant Professor Mahesh Illindala was just named among the Young Investigator Award winners from the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

The ONR Young Investigator Program (YIP) is one of the oldest and most selective scientific research advancement programs in the country. Its purpose is to fund early-career academic researchers, or investigators, whose scientific pursuits show outstanding promise for supporting the Department of Defense, while also promoting their professional development.

Illindala now receives a portion of the approximately $25 million awarded through ONR’s 2016 YIP, which includes 47 scientists whose exceptionally creative research holds promise across a range of naval-relevant science and technology areas, from robotics to solar cells.

Funding supports laboratory equipment, graduate student stipends and scholarships, and other expenses critical to ongoing and planned investigational studies. Typical grants are $510,000 over a three-year period with additional funds available for equipment.

The title of Illindala’s proposal is, "Design and Synthesis of Resilient Microgrid Systems."

“Being selected for the ONR Young Investigator Program is a rare honor in the field of power and energy,” Illindala said.

He explained that his research explores the creation of a self-organizing and self-restorative framework for making microgrid systems resilient to unexpected disruptions.

For example, Illindala said, the power system of an electric ship is an isolated microgrid, comprising of distributed energy resources (DERs). A failure in such systems would be detrimental.

“Next generation naval power systems have to support high combat capabilities, which will lead to increased energy and pulsed power loading,” he said. “With the focus on energy security, such harsh demands call for alternative energy sources and new approaches to their integration. Adverse conditions occur in DERs supplying large and pulsed power loads. These conditions are caused when the DERs, due to the low inertial response, quickly reach their capacity limits.”

YIP winners represent 34 academic institutions across the United States, ranging in disciplines such as optoelectronics, corrosion, biofilms, organic semiconductors, structural dynamics, combustion, ocean-atmospheric interaction, metamaterials, energetic materials, active flow control, efficient computing, foodborne diseases and warfighter training.

According to Dr. Larry Schuette, ONR’s director of research, “The YIP Program is in its 31 year at ONR and the award is still very competitive. We are fortunate to be able to attract the top researchers to the fundamental science that underpins the Navy and Marine Corps of today, tomorrow and the future.”

Candidates were selected from 280 highly-qualified applicants based on past performance, technical merit, potential scientific breakthrough and long-term university commitment. All are college and university faculty who have obtained tenure-track positions within the past five years.

View the full list of 2016 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator awardees: HERE.