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Mission Milestones

2012 - 2020


The University of Nebraska (NU) competes in a national open call for and is selected as a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) designated by the United States Office of the Secretary of Defense. NU establishes NSRI as an affiliated but independent 501(c)3 organization to carry the UARC designation.

U.S Strategic Command awards NU/NSRI its first indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle representing future projects worth $84 million. NSRI begins convening NU researchers with federal agency customers to accomplish deliverables.


With $600,000 NU startup funding, NSRI lands contracts for 22 task orders. The task orders total $9 million — a significant accomplishment for a UARC’s inaugural year. This validates the demand for national defense support and confirms the value of NU’s and NSRI’s research capabilities across chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive domains.


NSRI serves its 10th customer. Projects demonstrate the breadth of NU’s capabilities and capacity. Through a key project, “Low-Dose Radiographic System,” University of Nebraska–Lincoln physicists eventually will demonstrate that laser-produced X-rays can penetrate steel much thicker than cargo container walls and detect an even smaller amount of uranium than the minimum required by inspection standards.


NSRI and NU complete their 25th research project for Department of Defense (DOD) and federal agency customers, while conducting 20 additional projects. In total, 24 NU researchers have participated as principal investigators on projects through NSRI since 2012. Projects include immunomics unit research support ($5.3 million), traffic-calming elements for entry-control facilities to delay and contain threats ($1 million) and a next-generation sequence training module ($1 million).

Medical Passive Defense Against WMD


Total contract awards since 2012 surpass $42 million, with $18.3 million awarded in 2016 alone — the highest one-year total to date. NSRI and NU have provided deliverables on 60 task orders, contracts and grants. NSRI scientists with extensive DOD experience are brought on board and begin work on a $9.3 million, 3-year contract involving biological field and laboratory support.


NSRI begins expanding its physical footprint beyond Nebraska to better support defense customers. The NSRI National Capital Region Laboratory and Conference Center opens in Annapolis Junction, Md., and the NSRI Fredericksburg Field Office & Laboratory opens in Fredericksburg, Va. A cross-campus partnership of UNMC and UNL launches the Nebraska Drug Discovery Pipeline through a $7.3 million DOD contract. The pipeline will go on to assist in development of drugs to mitigate and/or counteract effects of Acute Radiation Syndrome.


NSRI has facilitated 83 contract awards from 24 sponsors, totaling $61 million. More than 240 NU researchers and students have participated in projects. In this year alone, five contract awards total more than $8 million each. Several projects enter a second phase, including, “En Route Care Acute Respiratory Distress System (ARDS) Mitigation Using Oxygenated Microbubbles” and “Medical Countermeasure Drug Discovery and Development.” To keep pace with demand, USSTRATCOM awards the second IDIQ to the University of Nebraska through NSRI. This one for $92 million.


NSRI and NU experience the most significant year-over-year contract growth to date — a 51% increase over 2018. Since 2012, NSRI has facilitated $155 million in contracts, with an estimated NU ROI of $3.30 for every $1 invested. By 2019, NSRI has served more than 40 defense customers. NSRI’s employee numbers surpass 50, and the institute expands its leadership team.
NSRI / NU Nuclear Deterrence Team 2019


NU President Ted Carter
The University of Nebraska and NSRI respond rapidly to evolving COVID-19 mitigation efforts, quickly adapting existing defense data, skills, tools and personnel to support the nation’s most immediate need. NSRI is awarded its third IDIQ contract from USSTRATCOM, another $92 million for application to ongoing defense initiatives, and the institute opens the new Space Coast Field Office in Melbourne, Fl.


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