Wright State Research Institute lands $14 million Air Force contract

The research institute will work with the Sensors Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory, which awarded the contract. The directorate is at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Dennis Andersh, WSRI chief executive officer, said the multi-million dollar contract was a “significant win” to bolster homeland security and could produce spin-off commercial technologies such as improving collision avoidance radars and autonomous cars.

“It’s doing basic and applied research that is foundational to a lot of applications,” he said.

Wright State researchers will conduct several programs with AFRL “that address some of the most difficult sensor challenges and to find technology breakthroughs,” the Defense Department said.

Researchers will focus on decoding adversaries signals to improving synthetic aperture radar, among other things, said WSRI Director Jason Parker.

The institute’s sensors program has 10 employees and “we hope that it will also grow new positions in coming years,” he said.

WSRI will collaborate with Ohio State University, MacAulay-Brown, Inc., Radiance Technologies, Inc., and Etegent Technologies, Ltd., on the project.

Wright State University students will conduct most of the research, said Brian Rigling, director of sensors systems research at the institute.

“We employ from high school students up to post-doctoral students,” he said. “We do have handfuls of faculty and full-time researchers involved.”

WSRI has had rapid growth in recent years. In May 2013, the institute had 69 employees and a $17.5 million budget. Now, officials said, it’s grown to 120 employees and a $23.5 million budget with projections for future growth.

Institute research delves into human performance, health care, and data analytics, among other areas.

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