On July 21 and 22, 2020, the Materials Science in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA) officially launched its collaborative research activities with a kickoff meeting. As an alliance of 18 research institutions led by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the MSEE URA will work in close collaboration with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to advance fundamental science to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
The two-day meeting included remarks from DTRA and JHU Executives, as well as technical presentations describing the research plans within the alliance. Keynote speakers included: Dr. Rhys Williams, DTRA Director of Research and Development, Mr. Stephen Dowling, Director of Counter WMD Technologies (DTRA R&D Directorate), Dr. Michael Kuliasha, Director Nuclear Technologies (DTRA R&D Directorate), Dean Ed Schlesinger, JHU Whiting School of Engineering, and Dr. Denis Wirtz, JHU Vice Provost for Research. The kickoff meeting was hosted by the MSEE leadership team of Prof. Tim Weihs from JHU and Dr. Mike Robinson from DTRA.
JHU and DTRA executives underscored the importance of the research that the alliance will be performing, the workforce that will be developed through these collaborative projects, and the support from both Johns Hopkins University and the Defense Threat Reduction agency. The technical leads within the URA described plans for research within four broad research areas, as well as plans within the cross-cutting research initiative.
Over 200 representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, various other government agencies, and national laboratories joined students, postdoctoral fellows, and university professors in attending the event.