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FAA Seeks Academic Partners for UAS Center of Excellence

droneThe Federal Aviation Administration has issued a final solicitation on its program to create a center of excellence for unmanned aircraft systems that would leverage cost sharing and research collaboration among industry, government and academia.

According to the notice issued Aug. 12, the FAA intends to sign cooperative agreements and award grants and indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts to CoE team members to help create the center, set its research agenda and meet delivery orders.

The FAA said the CoE, which would open in fiscal 2015, would work to help facilitate basic and applied research such as prototyping and product development.

The agency added that the CoE would meet the congressional mandate for non-federal grants, encourage public-private partnerships and enable team members to combine resources and optimize technological competence.

Interested higher-education institutions should send a notice of intent to submit a proposal and list the members of the core university team and their affiliates and partners.

They should also indicate available facilities and equipment and commitments of support from industry or government affiliates, FAA said.

Selected parties will be required to perform research reviews annually and participate in conferences and seminars to disseminate findings.

The notice indicated at least $500,000 annual FAA funding over 10 years, plus additional funds and resources from potential co-sponsors in the public and private sector.

The agency will accept proposals through Sept. 15.

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