Defense Threat Reduction AgencyDefense Threat Reduction Agency


Combating WMD Basic Research

 "Basic research leads to new knowledge.  It provides scientific capital.  It creates the fund from which the practical applications of knowledge must be drawn...  Today it is truer than ever that basic research is the pacemaker of technological progress...  A nation which depends upon others for its new basic scientific knowledge will be slow in its industrial progress and weak in its competition in world trade, regardless of its mechanical skill." Vannevar Bush

Mission and Vision

The DTRA basic research program is led by the Basic and Applied Sciences Department (BA) within the Research and Development Directorate (J9). J9-BA funds results-oriented, basic research across the full range of DTRA operational and technical mission areas and continuously strives to achieve its vision of being DTRA's strategic investor and transition enabler. As a core element of DTRA, and the greater DoD, research enterprise, J9-BA carries out its mission to plan, foster, encourage and facilitate transition of scientific research by facilitating world class basic and applied research while developing the next generation S&T workforce.  For more information view the DTRA Strategic Plan.

The five thrust areas (TA) in basic research are:

  1. Science of WMD Sensing and Recognition 
  2. Network Sciences
  3. Science for Protection 
  4. Science to Defeat WMD
  5. Science to Secure WMD

Director's Corner

Mrs. Joan Ma Pierre
Director, Basic and Applied Sciences Department

In 2007, DTRA established a new basic research program to solve the most challenging problems for reducing the threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The program has two interlinked principal goals:

1) Stimulate the development of innovative solutions to enable revolutionary change for achieving effective, efficient and affordable threat reduction

2) Promote the development of the next generation science and technology (S&T) workforce for combating WMD

From the beginning, DTRA recognized that partnership with academia would be crucial for achieving both goals. Equally important is a continuing dedication to acting as excellent stewards of taxpayer resources and ensuring that DTRA’s basic research program avoids duplication with other U.S. Government funded research while concentrating on counter-WMD efforts. This plan details our strategy and approach to accomplishing these goals.

Pakistani Pediatrician Awarded $1 Million Caplow Prize for Humanitarian Efforts
Dr. Anita Zaidi, a Pakistani pediatrician from Aga Khan University and DTRA-funded performer, recently won the prestigious Caplow Children’s Prize. The million dollar prize is awarded annually to support humanitarian efforts dedicated to saving children’s lives and is the brainchild of Dr. Ted Caplow, an engineer and self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” with interests in renewable energy and sustainable food production, among others.

Dr. Zaidi successfully competed against 550 other entries for her proposal to improve maternal care in the fishing village of Rehri Goth. 

Read more

Find Funding Opportunities*

DTRA funds research to support our mission to safeguard America and its allies from WMD (e.g., chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives) by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat and mitigate its effects.  We fund research across the technology spectrum from basic science to full scale technology development.

Please read solicitations carefully:  eligibility requirements, award options, and dollar values vary by solicitation.

DTRA BAAs for Basic and Fundamental Research:

Basic Research (BR): 


Fundamental Research (FR): 

DTRA Calls for Basic and Fundamental Research:

BR Service Call: 

FR Government Call: 


*Other opportunities exist at DTRA and this list is not meant to be all-inclusive.

For instructions on finding additional DTRA opportunities, click here.

Contact Us

For general questions regarding basic and fundamental research, please contact:

Please review each solicitation for additional contact information for administrative and technical correspondence.