Virginia Commonwealth University

Partner Institution Strengths & Capabilities Survey



Contact Information

Name: Dr. Nibir K. Dhar

Title: Professor and Director of Virginia Microelectronics Center




1.    Please select the research areas in which your institution currently engages.


2. Please note, in detail, any research areas of strength not listed above. This may include fundamental sciences (e.g., math, physics, biology, etc.).

While, VCU has an elaborate set of research and development activities, our focus in this ML-RCP program is in the area of Electro-Optic, Infrared and RF.


3. Are there any emerging areas of research your institution is actively seeking to develop?

The emerging areas are microelectronics, quantum, photonics and AI/ML (,,

4. Does your institution have any internal research centers or participate in any research consortia?


The relevant centers are VMC, CLI, CCI (,


VMC (Virginia Microelectronics Center) is a center to develop, fabricate and test new and emerging microelectronics research. CLI (Convergence Lab Initiative Center) is a center for basic to applied research in Quantum, Photonics, Microelectronics, AI/ML, Neuromorphic and Arts. The CCI (Commonwealth Cyber Initiative) is a center that focuses on cyber security and related technologies. There are several other centers that has focus on medicine and computing.


5.    Please provide a list of relevant facilities and equipment.

A list of equipment and facility is below in a separate document.

6. Does your institution have a relationship with any other academic institution or research organization(s) that enables your access to their facilities and equipment?

Currently we collaborate with most of the Virginia universities. We are working to establish a Commonwealth wide initiative with VT, ODU, NSU, WM, VSU, GMU and several others for student access to facilities. This initiative is called VAST. Primary access is for the research capabilities in a cleanroom environment.

7. Has your institution collaborated with Department of Defense in the past?

Yes, we are actively working with Department of Defense. For more details, please contact Dr. Dhar.

8. Is your institution involved in any federal STEM funding efforts?

We have a STEM program with the Army C5ISR.

9. This program requires documentation (i.e., theses, dissertation, presentations, etc.) to go through the AFRL public affairs review process. Would this present a challenge for your institution?

We are very familiar with the AFRL document release process and this does not present any challenges.


Research Administration and Compliance

10. Does your institution have an office of sponsored programs?  

11. Does your institution have an approval process for seeking extramural funding?  

12. Does your institution accept federal award dollars and manage standard fiscal reporting, and compliance requirements?  

13. Does your institution provide guidance to PIs for budget development?  

14. Does your institution offer proposal development services?  

15. Does your institution offer research development services, e.g., assistance with finding research funding, proposal management, team formation/development, etc.?  

16. Does you institution offer research compliance training and education, i.e., roles and responsibilities of principal investigators?  

17. Does your institution have a designated Export Control Officer?  

18. Is your institution registered with the US State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls?  

19. Does your institution currently perform Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI/ NIST 800-171 compliant) research?  

20. Does your institution currently perform research subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations?  

21. Does your institution have a DoD Facility Security Clearance (FCL)?  No  If Yes:

a.    What is the FCL’s classification level? None

b.    What is the FCL’s authorized safeguarding level? None

c.     How many safeguarding-approved spaces do you manage? None

d.    What is your facility’s CAGE Code(s)?  46050


ML-RCP Program Expectations

22. The objective of the AFRL ML-RCP is to enable and enhance the research capabilities of the HBCU’s/MSIs through collaborative research efforts with AFRL. What would be necessary for you to receive to meet this objective? 


Our institution is very dedicated to research and education for future scientists and engineers who can be trained and ready for Department of Defense employment. We are actively working with AFRL scientists and engineers. This objective is being met by actively engaging AFRL S&T folks. As we are gearing up with the ML-RCP and CLI center we have a plan to engage with AFRL:

1)    We are working to understand AFRL research needs and workforce needs

2)    We are also assessing AFRL capabilities so we can augment our capabilities, and

3)    We are establishing a strong relationship with periodic meetings with AFRL staff to conduct joint research through our CLI center

4)    We are also interfacing with AFRL for veterans training and other STEM program.

VCU Facilities and Equipment - 2022