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ECE professor receives Navy Young Investigator Award

May 5, 2015

Morris Cohen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, was one of the 36 faculty members in the U.S. to receive an award from the Department of Navy under its 2015 Young Investigator Program, one of the oldest and most selective scientific research advancement programs in the country.

Cohen received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, 2004 and 2010, respectively, and served as a research scientist until August 2013. From September 2012 until August 2013, Cohen was appointed as AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, where he worked on the fast-growing trend of crowdfunding, and also on open access policies for the Engineering directorate.

He joined the faculty in the School of ECE in 2013 and is interested in the natural electricity of the Earth, including lightning, the electrically charged upper atmosphere, and the radiation-filled space environment. He uses radio waves at low frequencies measured all around the world to understand them, and develops resulting practical applications. He is an author of more than 50 journal publications.

“These recipients demonstrate the type of visionary, multidisciplinary thought that helps the U.S. Navy anticipate and adapt to a dynamic battlespace,” said Dr. Larry Schuette, ONR’s director of research. “The breadth of their research and combined value of awards underscore the significance the Navy places on ingenuity, wherever it’s harbored, and support the framework for a Naval Innovation Network built on people, ideas and information.”

This year’s candidates were selected from 383 research proposals based on merit and potential breakthrough advances for the Navy and Marine Corps. All are college and university faculty who have obtained tenure-track positions within the past five years.

The Young Investigator Program is designed to promote the professional development of early-career academic scientists – called investigators, or YIPs – both as researchers and instructors. For awardees, the funding supports laboratory equipment, graduate student stipends and scholarships, and other expenses critical to ongoing and planned investigational studies.

Winners represent 31 academic institutions across the country in disciplines including nanoelectronics, robotics, machine learning, biofilm mechanics, acoustics, structural and fluid dynamics, quantum science, ocean-atmospheric interaction, solar cells, large data simulation, communication, neural and cognitive science, and undersea technologies. Each selectee receives annual monetary awards over a three-year period for research efforts that hold promise in advancing naval technology.

Over the years, research by YIP recipients has led to breakthroughs in nanoscience, fiber-laser systems, ultrafast optoelectronic devices and more.