Former Fellow Heads $25 Million NNSA Research Consortium

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE NNSA) has awarded $25 million to a consortium headed by an alumna of the agency’s Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE NNSA SSGF).

Anna Erickson, an associate professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is principal investigator for the Consortium for Enabling Technologies and Innovation (ETI). Erickson was a DOE NNSA SSGF recipient from 2008-2011 as a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The NNSA will provide ETI $5 million per year over five years. The consortium will link basic research at 12 universities to the capabilities of 10 national laboratories, developing new technologies and educational programs in support of the agency’s nuclear science, security and nonproliferation goals, a Georgia Tech release says. ETI will focus on three core disciplines: computer and engineering science research through machine learning and high-performance computing, advanced manufacturing, and nuclear detection technologies.

“We will be developing new enabling technologies to address not only the current challenges but also those we might anticipate in the future,” Erickson says in the release. “Beyond these technologies, we will create the next cohort of students and researchers able to join the national laboratories to implement cutting-edge technologies to help the NNSA achieve its goals.”

ETI will research advanced manufacturing of nuclear reactor components and fuel assemblies, machine learning to predict and find new phenomena affecting proliferation, and new instruments to detect radioactive materials.

The consortium also will devise new courses and connections to national laboratory internships, the release says. Its goal is to transfer more than 40 graduate students and 20 undergraduate students to the national laboratories over the next five years. As part of that strategy, it will provide approximately 70 internships and establish eight faculty-student laboratory visit fellowships.