National Science Foundation officials are awarding several grants in the coming months earmarked for research on enhancing access to the electromagnetic spectrum. The grants are part of an effort to identify bold new concepts that could significantly improve the efficiency of radio spectrum
usage for all consumers, including the military,
government agencies and industry.
The foundation aims to award grants for its
Grand Challenge, which falls under the Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum (EARS) program, by the end of
September, reveals Thyag Nandagopal, the EARS program manager.
Officials expect up to eight awards totaling $10 million. Each grant will
have a limit of $1.5 million for three years.
The radio frequency spectrum is a finite and critical natural
resource that facilitates a tremendous variety of applications and services, according to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Grand
Challenge documentation. Some of the most prevalent examples
include radio and TV broadcasting; cellphones; Wi-Fi; Bluetooth;
broadband wireless Internet access; GPS; radar; solar flares forecasting; weather satellites; near-Earth asteroid monitoring; and military,
government and public safety communications.
During the past two decades, use of the radio spectrum has grown
dramatically. Wireless systems have proved to be a major productivity
tool for every sector of the national economy and have become integrated into the fabric of society. As wireless systems proliferate and new
applications emerge, spectrum resources are in ever-greater demand.
All EARS for
A national challenge
encourages bold new
concepts in efficient usage of
the high-demand resource.
BY GEORGE I.