NASA Selects Four University Teams for Aviation Projects

NASA’s research focus on sustainable aviation will get some big help from teams of university faculty and students recently selected to participate in the agency’s University Leadership Initiative (ULI).

ULI gives the academic community an opportunity to support NASA’s aeronautical research goals and provide students with valuable experience in solving real-world technical challenges.

“Aviation of the future has to be climate-friendly to keep the world flying, and a great way to do that is to allow tomorrow’s top minds to begin making contributions to these goals while still in school,” said Koushik Datta, ULI project manager.

Three of the four teams are working toward lowering or eliminating aircraft emissions, with each team approaching the problem from a slightly different perspective. The fourth team’s autonomy research is in support of NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility campaign.

Another key ULI goal is for students to gain experience in leading a multidisciplinary team made up of partners from other universities and industry, including student populations who are underrepresented or have not applied their skills to aviation problems.

“A diverse research team enables more voices to be heard, and more creative ideas to be explored,” said Datta. A total of four teams were selected for final negotiations that could lead to awards of up to $31.5 million during the next five years.The four teams selected were University of Central Florida, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.