(CLOSED) University Nuclear Leadership Program, Research and Development Grant, Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 (31310023K0002)

Sponsor Name: 
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Description of the Award: 

The program provides funding to support research and development (R&D) for nuclear science, engineering, technology, and related disciplines to develop a workforce capable of supporting the design, construction, operation, and regulation of nuclear facilities and the safe handling of nuclear materials. University R&D activities provide an opportunity to complement current, ongoing NRC-led research.

More specifically, the program shall be used to provide financial assistance for R&D projects relevant to the programmatic mission of the NRC referenced above, with an emphasis on providing financial assistance with respect to research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of new and advanced nuclear technologies. New this year, non-technical research will be considered under this announcement (for example, projects that would foster the development of innovative community engagement strategies, including incorporation of principles of equity and environmental justice).

The NRC invites R&D projects that complement its current research portfolio and that help the NRC prepare for upcoming challenges. A summary of NRC planned research activities can be found at https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/research/activities.html in the FY22-24 Research Prospectus. The NRC seeks projects that provide a variety of direct and indirect, near- and longer-term benefits. These benefits include:

  • Identification and closure of potentially important technical gaps ahead of regulatory needs,
  • Heightened awareness and knowledge of key advanced technology developments being pursued outside of NRC, and
  • Improved foundational knowledge on key topics of future regulatory interest.


Areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Application of wireless communications, drones, robotics, and autonomous control in operations and maintenance activities;
  • Digital engineering/analytics, advanced sensors, and digital instrumentation/controls at nuclear facilities;
  • Evaluation of technical gaps and major uncertainties in assessing risk for operating, new and advanced reactors (e.g., modeling of complex dependencies, advanced calculation techniques, multi-unit and multi-moule risk, application of risk techniques to radiological consequence analysis, development of improved risk metrics);
  • Human and organizational factors and human reliability analysis for advanced nuclear applications, (e.g., improved models for dependency, consideration of organizational factors, dynamic methods, and risk analysis).
  • Characterization of fire hazards in new reactor designs (e.g., sodium) and post-fire safe shutdown capability;
  • Characterization of natural hazards including but not limited to flooding, high winds, hurricanes, wildfires, climate change;
  • Analysis models and methods for fuel and cladding performance;
  • Advanced technology approaches (e.g., data and text analytics, data visualization techniques, and artificial intelligence) and applications (e.g., data mining, autonomous control) in nuclear power-related applications; Evaluation of the radiological releases and offsite consequences for fusion reactor accidents;
  • Application of innovative and advanced technologies for decommissioning and remediation of radiologically contaminated sites;
  • Evaluation of the technical gaps and uncertainties in licensing new veterinary and medical uses of byproduct materials;
  • Analytical approaches that combine probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) risk quantification methods with reactor systems sensitivity or uncertainty analysis methods to quantify the risk significance of safety analysis errors or uncertainties; Performance-based technology-neutral safety assurance;
  • Evaluation of technical gaps and major uncertainties in assessing risk for decommissioning and waste management; and
  • Comparative analysis, consistencies, and harmonization in application of dosimetry and dose coefficients by the NRC and national and international regulatory agencies.

Your application must emphasize the technical area(s) proposed under this project.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
May 26, 2023
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NRC-31310022K0001_2023.pdf) no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

2. Project Description (no more than two pages, pdf) identifying the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements of the sponsor's solicitation, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations. (references may be included on additional page(s))

3. 2-page CV's of Investigators

Formatting Guidelines:

Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OSVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Thursday, April 20, 2023 - 4:00pm
For help or questions: 

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

Xing Wang (CoE); Federico Scurti (CoE)