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ORAU-Directed Research and Development Grants

ODRD: The benefit of broadening your research base

One of the most important benefits of your institution’s partnership with ORAU is the potential for funding through the ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) program.

This investment program provides a path for funding innovative research-based approaches/solutions that fall within the intersection of core capabilities of ORAU and our member universities research interests. We envision the successful ODRD funded projects to result in proposals that can generate new sponsored research  jointly performed by ORAU and partner universities.

An ODRD research concept may be initiated by ORAU staff or a member university faculty or staff member. ODRD is only open to member universities with current Memorandum of Understanding, Non-Disclosure Agreement and ORAU Value Through Partnerships External SharePoint access.

Frequently asked questions

  • ODRD is a research and development program that supports collaborations between ORAU and Member Universities. This investment program provides a path for funding innovative research-based approaches/solutions that fall within the intersection of core capabilities of ORAU and our member universities research interests. We envision the successful ODRD funded projects to result in proposals that can generate new sponsored research jointly performed by ORAU and partner universities. ODRD funding, distributed through a competitive process, serves as seed money for exploratory research and collaboration opportunities among ORAU subject matter experts and our university partners. This seed money and exploratory research provides greater potential for significant funding from external sources.

    ODRD projects will strengthen and expand the scientific and technical capabilities of ORAU programs and enhance ORAU’s ability to address current and future customer needs. By leveraging the talents and strengths of our member universities, ODRD supports university-engaged, applied research while increasing the potential for significant external research funding.
  • An ODRD research concept may be initiated by ORAU staff or a member university faculty or staff member. The proposed research concepts must align with at least one of ORAU's core capability areas and focus on improving service to an ORAU customer. Examples include:

    • STEM Workforce Development 
    • Worker Health
    • Environmental and Radiological Assessments
    • Radiation Emergency Management
    • Peer Review
  • At this time we are entertaining concepts solely within the listed capability areas. If you would like to discuss your proposed concept, contact university.partnerships@orau.org.
  • No, ODRD is for collaborative projects between ORAU and Member Universities.
  • No, ODRD is for collaborative projects between ORAU and Member Universities. ORAU and ORNL are separate entities.
  • ORAU has subject matter experts with unique experience and education specific to a particular research topic. ORAU SMEs serve as the project lead and are responsible for submitting Phase 1, 2, and 3 applications through the internal ODRD application process. The SMEs represent ORAU’s thought leaders and are the best resource to determine the value of a collaborative ODRD project.
  • ODRD uses corporate funds to support awarded projects. No federal monies are used to fund ODRD projects and activities. The number of projects awarded may vary. 
  • ODRD funds may be used for direct charges only (no indirect or overhead charges are permitted), and in accordance with your university’s policies pertaining to grants and travel charges.

ODRD process

  • An ODRD research concept may be initiated by ORAU staff or a member university faculty or staff member. The proposed research concepts must align with at least one of ORAU's core capability areas and focus on improving service to an ORAU customer.

    Proposed concepts shall consist of a research collaboration between ORAU and member universities through each phase of the program.

    ODRD projects should have potential to progress through Phase 3. However, all phases do not have to occur in order. You can go directly from a Phase 1 to a Phase 3.

  • Concepts which are well-aligned between ORAU capabilities and member university research interests result in an initial project conversation (conference call) to further explore the research concept and to determine if a Phase 1 meeting would be mutually beneficial.
    • Fiscal Year 2018 Application Timeline: Open for Continuous Submission
  • The Phase 1 meeting consists of either a visit to ORAU or to the university partner. The outcomes of a successful Phase 1 meeting includes:
    • Well-defined scope of the joint research project
    • Roles and responsbilities of each partner
    • External funding sources identified
    • Preparation of a white paper, conference presentation, and/or joint proposal
    • Commitment to move forward
    • Travel grant funds are provided to conduct the Phase 1 meeting at ORAU or at the partner university.
    • Fiscal Year 2018 Application Timeline: Open for Continuous Submission
  • For Phase 2 competition, joint ORAU and university-prepared application is submitted during March of each year. Phase 2 projects are defined as innovative research projects that enhance ORAU’s core scientific and technical competencies in partnership with a member university. The project should be achievable in 3 to 6 months, but no longer than 1 year, and is designed to produce "proof-of-concept"-type results leading to a white paper, conference presentation, and/or a technical publication with a clear proposal concept and identification of target funding sources. Criteria for Phase 2 Selection:
    • Strengthens competency of ORAU program: Potential value of the enhanced service or product to our customers; strengthens technical differentiation/innovation of product/service that enhances our competitiveness, value added to ORAU by association with thought leaders.
    • External research funding potential: Preliminary identification of customer for unsolicited proposal or expected RFP and dollar value of the possible external third party award. Plans to submit an external proposal with a value above $1M will be viewed favorably.
    • Strengthens value proposition for university partner: Potential to build long-term collaboration between ORAU experts and university faculty; provides funded research support for student/faculty, university gains access to unique ORAU assets.
    • Miscellaneous criteria: Technical viability of the proposed research approach, expands our thought leadership (e.g., team commits to peer-reviewed paper, technical presentation, etc.), appropriateness of the size of project to the time and budget available. Include any additional comments you believe should be considered.
      • Up to $75,000 is shared between ORAU and the university partners; funds granted to universities cover direct charges only
  • Support for preparation of a major joint proposal. The Phase 2 funded projects form the basis for developing external proposals for significant funding. 
    • Fiscal Year 2018 Application Timeline: Open for continuous submission.

Ready to apply?

ODRD is only open to member universities with current Memorandum of Understanding, Non-Disclosure Agreement and ORAU Value Through Partnerships External SharePoint access.

Start application

If you have questions about access to the site, please send an email to university.partnerships@orau.org.

Personal Mobile Devices Prohibition Survey

Personal Mobile Devices Prohibition Survey

In late 2017, personal mobile devices (notably smartphones) were prohibited from use by staff in both the Pentagon and the west wing of the White House. At the time these prohibitions made news, ORAU and the Florida Institute of Technology began an ODRD project to create a survey of people who work in environments where they are prohibited from using PMDs or social media. Seeing an opportunity, ORAU and FIT colleagues promoted the survey through social media and earned media opportunities in addition to targeting employees working in high-security environments.

Contact us

To learn more about the ORAU-Directed Research and Development program, contact the University Partnerships office at 865.576.6513 or university.partnerships@orau.org.