WASHINGTON – In February 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) awarded 36 grants totaling $21 million to support research activities in areas of physical sciences and engineering as part of the Stewardship Science Academic Alliances (SSAA) Program. The SSAA is one of five academic programs under DOE/NNSA along with the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program (MSIPP) that includes the Tribal Education Partnership Program (TEPP), the Joint Program in High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas (JPHEDLP), the Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF), and the Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP).   

The SSAA program funds research grants to provide opportunities for scientific collaboration between the academic community and scientists at the DOE/NNSA National Laboratories. A main objective of the SSAA Program is to develop and maintain a long-term recruiting pipeline supporting the DOE/NNSA laboratories by training and educating the next generation of scientists in fundamental areas of science and technology research relevant to stockpile stewardship.

“This work will expand our understanding of key scientific principles in focused research areas that are fundamental to the nuclear deterrent and will ensure a pipeline of highly trained scientists and technicians to support the future deterrent,” said Dr. Mark Anderson, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation in NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs. 

The SSAA Program funding opportunity announcement is posted every three years. The proposals, submitted in response to a solicitation published last year, went through a competitive grant application process with an extensive peer review by subject matter experts. Overall, 36 grants were awarded in the following research areas: properties of materials under extreme conditions and energetic environments; hydrodynamics, instabilities, and hypersonics; low energy nuclear science; and radiochemistry.

The total funding is $21 million for projects lasting up to three years in duration, with $14 million allocated in outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. 

Launched in 2002, the SSAA program supports areas of fundamental research and development relevant to NNSA’s stockpile stewardship mission and works to recruit the next generation of highly trained technical scientists and engineers for the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

The SSAA Program grants were awarded to the following recipients:




Carnegie Institution of Washington

Tracy, Sally June

Dynamic Compression of Iron Carbide at Exoplanetary Core Conditions

Clemson University

Powell,  Brian

Combined Field and Laboratory Studies of Plutonium Aging and Environmental Transport

Clemson University

Scott Husson, Brian Powell

Improving the sensitivity and precision for plutonium isotope ratio measurements by thermal ionization mass spectrometry using a novel polymer fiber platform

Colorado School of Mines

Clarke, Amy

Microstructure Control of Additively Manufactured Metals of Interest to the NNSA Weapons Complex

Duke University

Finch, Sean

Measurements of precise fission cross-section ratios and correlations in fission observables

Duke University

Howell, Calvin

Measurements of Prompt Neutron Differential Multiplicity in Photofission of 235U, 238U and 239Pu

Duke University

Crowell, Alex

High-precision neutron-induced cross-section measurements on 191,193Ir

Duke University

Tornow, Werner

Measurement and analysis of selected neutron-induced fission product yields for 235U, 238U and 239Pu

Duke University

Amsden,  Jason

Virtual-Slit Cycloidal Mass Spectrometer for portable rapid ultra-trace isotope ratio analysis of actinides

Harvard University

Jacobsen, Stein

From Z to Planets – Phase IV

Harvard University

Silvera, Isaac

Metallic Hydrogen: Reflectance, Metastability, and Superconductivity

Michigan State University

Liddick, Sean

Neutron capture cross section measurements on short-lived isotopes

Michigan State University

Nazarewicz,  Witold

Microscopic Description of the Fission Process

Ohio University

Brune, Carl

Nuclear Reactions and Scattering

Ohio University

Meisel, Zachary

Statistical Nuclear Physics and (a,n) Reactions for Applications

Oregon State

Loveland, Walter

The Energy Release in the Fission of Actinide Nuclei

Research Foundation State University of New York, Stony Brook University

Li, Baosheng

Thermodynamic and Mechanical Properties of SSP Materials from Simultaneous Ultrasonic and X-ray Studies at High Pressure and Temperature

Rutgers University

Cizewski, Jolie

Nuclear reaction studies with rare isotope beams for stewardship science

San Diego State University

Nollett, Kenneth

Scattering and direct reactions in a shell model framework

Stanford University

Dresselhaus-Marais, Leora

New Operando X-ray Microscope for Movies Resolving the Nanoscale Origins of Defects in Metal Additive Manufacturing

The University of Texas at Austin

Downer, Michael

Radiography of High Energy Density Phenomena Using X-rays from Laser Plasma Accelerators

University of Alabama Birmingham

Vohra, Yogesh

High-Pressure High-Temperature Synthesis and Thermal Equation of State of Materials for Hypersonic Applications

University of Arizona 

Jacobs, Jeffrey

An Experimental Study of Rayleigh-Taylor and Richtmyer-Meshkov Instabilities at Large Reynolds Numbers

University of California, Berkeley

Bernstein, Lee

Correlated neutron-gamma data for stewardship science

University of California, San Diego

Maple, Brian

Novel d- & f- Electron Materials Under Extreme Conditions of Pressure, Temperature, and Magnetic Field

University of Colorado

Boyd, Iain

Computational Modeling of Hypersonic Flow and Material Response in a Free-jet Test Facility

University of Florida

Spearot, Douglas

Understanding the role of Elastodynamic Effects on Shock Induced Plasticity via Discrete Dislocation Dynamics Simulations

University of Florida, Gainesville

Balachandar,  S

Understanding Hydrodynamic Instabilities of Explosively-Driven Multiphase Fronts For Accurate Prediction of Their Complex Structures

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Burnley, Pamela

Deformation of Polycrystalline Materials under Extreme Conditions: Stress percolation, Shear Localization and Grain Boundary Rheology

University of Notre Dame

Simon, Anna

Constraining neutron-capture cross sections via direct and indirect experimental methods

University of Notre Dame

Aprahamian,  Ani

Novel techniques for the production of robust actinide targets

University of Rochester

Abdolrahim, Niaz

Time-resolved classification of x-ray diffraction data using deep-learning-powered computer vision techniques

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Grzywacz, Robert

Beta-delayed neutron spectroscopy of exotic nuclei

Washington State University

Eilers, Hergen

Real-time monitoring of chemical reactions at subsurface locations in optically opaque and highly scattering samples

Washington State University

Yoo, CS

Planetary Materials under Extreme Conditions: Novel States, Structures, and Chemistry of Low Z Quantum Mixtures at Complex Interfaces

Washington University in St. Louis

Parai,  Rita

Seeing through the fission phase 2: Multi-modal analyses of actinides and noble gas isotopes in geological samples