UCF’s Center for Directed Energy has been selected to receive a UCF Jump Start Award worth $450,000.

The funds, part of President Alexander N. Cartwright’s Strategic Investment Program, will help expand the capabilities offered to a larger user base at the Townes Institute for Science, Technology, and Experimentation Facility (known as TISTEF).

The project was one of 17 selected under the program that pledged almost $5 million to fund one-time projects or purchases intended to amplify UCF’s research impact. Seventy proposals, involving 330 researchers, were submitted.

UCF manages TISTEF, a federally owned facility, located on Florida’s Space Coast at NASA Kennedy Space Center. The added capabilities are expected to benefit UCF researchers, private companies, and public agencies already using the facility and will attract first-time users and open new areas of innovation within the engineering, optics, and physical sciences’ areas.

The center has received external pledges totaling $806,000 in matching funds from the generous support of the Naval Research Laboratory, LP Photonics LLC, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Upon completion of the expansion projected in 2023, UCF anticipates receiving more grants and contracts for work conducted at TISTEF.

“President Cartwright’s commitment to invest in UCF research, combined with generous pledges from UCF’s research sponsors, will propel UCF’s directed energy research at TISTEF into national prominence for the benefit of the next generation scientists and engineers,” says Robert Bernath, director of TISTEF.

TISTEF is part of the Center for Directed Energy at UCF. The academic research and educational center in engineering, science, atmospherics, environment, and policy associated with directed energy (DE) technologies, provides R&D and trained personnel to the defense, space and manufacturing industries, government institutions and laboratories, and academia.