Strategic Deterrence Academic Collaboration Team awards six scientists to support collaborative research

ACT awards winners 2024 (Download Image)

From top left, clockwise, Michael Ford, Amanda Wu, Anthony Paul Ramirez, Jason Bernstein, Jon Eggert and Andy Cook are recipients of the Lab’s 2023 Academic Collaboration Team awards.


Six scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) were recently granted awards through the Lab’s 2023 Academic Collaboration Team (ACT) annual call for proposals. Awards support university research partners for up to three years to perform research in collaboration with Lab scientists and offer an important way to build long-term connections with universities and bring game-changing science and innovation to Lab programs. 

Now in their fifth year, ACT university collaboration awards were created to encourage and advance strategic partnerships among universities with a focus on the Lab’s and Strategic Deterrence’s missions. Awards are supported by Weapons Physics Design, Weapons Scientific Computing, and Weapons Technology Engineering programs.

This year’s call was the most competitive on record, with 30 proposals received. A program-nominated expert committee reviews all proposals, with the first round of reviews occurring on proposals that have been redacted of the university and PI names.

“The redacted reviews are a unique feature of the ACT process and allow the committee to rank proposals on key outcomes, including innovation and basic science, outside of who is submitting the proposal,” said ACT Chair Alison Saunders.

The final round of reviews includes presentations from the lab PI, during which the committee can ask questions to understand how the proposed project will help to establish long-term relations with universities to respond with agility to Lab program challenges.

While all proposals received this year were of excellent quality, the final selections stood out for their potential to bring innovative science and ideas to the programs they support, Saunders said.

This year’s winning projects span a wide variety of Lab-relevant science, ranging from new equation-of-state development methods, fusion-capsule material microstructure simulations, new types of printed polymers and defect-aware material model development. This year’s recipients include Andy Cook, Anthony Paul Ramirez, Jason Bernstein, Jon Eggert, Michael Ford and Amanda Wu.

The committee includes Brody Bassett, Dan Casey, Jeremy Lenhardt, Brandon Morgan, Fady Najjar, Brad Perfect, Jo Ressler, Scott Sepke, and Trevor Willey. The ACT is chaired by Saunders and administered by Malu Mageo and supports all Strategic Deterrence academic subcontract activity.

2023 awards
Award recipients of the recent call, project titles, and LLNL and university principal investigators are as follows:

Texas A&M (TAMU)
“Hypersonic droplets”
Andy Cook, LLNL principal investigator
Jacob McFarland TAMU principal investigator

Mississippi State University (MSU)
“Neutron scattering cross sections”
Anthony Paul Ramirez, LLNL principal investigator
Benjamin Crider, MSU principal investigator

George Mason University (GMU)
“StatsEOS: Bayesian calibration and uncertainty quantification of mixture EOS”
Jason Bernstein, LLNL principal investigator
Ben Seiyon Lee,  GMU principal investigator

University of South Florida (USF)
“Reducing fuel/ablator mix by engineering structure and dopants in carbon ICF ablators”
Jon Eggert, LLNL principal investigator
Ivan Oleynik, USF principal investigator

North Carolina State University (NCSU)
“Foam stabilization of 3D-printed elastomers and composites using polymer microparticles”
Michael Ford, LLNL principal investigator
Orlin D. Velev. NCSU principal investigator 

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)
“Role of manufacturing defects on material failure under dynamic loading for developing enhanced failure models and theories”
Amanda Wu, LLNL principal investigator
Daniel Whisler, Penn State principal investigator

The next ACT call for proposals is expected to arrive in early summer and will be a draw for scientists around LLNL. For more information, contact the ACT chair.