MAE Seminar – Basic Research Funding Opportunities and Space Research Interests


10:30 am-11:30 am
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Psychology Building Room 130
945 Center Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


Basic Research Funding Opportunities and Space Research Interests

Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 10:40 pm
Location: In-Person PSY Room 130
945 Center Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611

Stacie Williams, Ph.D
Space Science Architect at AFOSR

With the stand-up of the United States Space Force (USSF) the Department of the Air Force’s research interests are evolving to meet the challenges our nation faces in space. Today’s global threats require new approaches that will build upon today’s basic research investments. This presentation will discuss the mission of the USSF, research interests, current USSF-related science and technology investments, and current funding mechanisms.

Dr. Stacie Williams received her doctorate from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she conducted laser experiments to investigate the light-matter interactions of complex molecules. She continued these studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she was one of the pioneer researchers advancing time-resolved infrared studies of biologically relevant molecules and was the first to observe a metal-metal bond in a protein. In 1996 she founded a laboratory at Boston University developing laser diagnostics for biomedical applications. She then left the research arena to pursue a family and worked as a science educator. In 2011 she returned to her research roots at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and directed a research portfolio that achieved the first resolved daylight images on a large aperture electro-optical telescope. In 2014 Dr. Williams was appointed as technical advisor at AFRL, where she transitioned multiple basic research programs to the Air Force’s space mission, vastly improving the effectiveness of electro-optical telescopes. She joined the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) in 2016 and managed the Remote Sensing Portfolio that included electro-optical imaging, astrodynamics, tracking, and atmospheric effects on beam control. In 2019 she moved to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to advance the state of the art in space domain awareness by developing higher functionality imaging systems with lower cost, size, weight, and power. Currently, Dr. Williams is the Space Science Architect at AFOSR, serving as liaison to the United States Space Force (USSF) to ensure that the Department of Air Force’s basic research investments and activities are addressing USSF mission needs and priorities. Dr. Williams also directs many investment initiatives in space-focused basic research. Dr. Williams is featured in a film called “Maui in Space,” which highlights the SSA and astronomy efforts conducted on Maui, and in a Voices from DARPA podcast, “The Orbital Optician.” Dr. Williams is also a leader in STEM education and is nationally recognized for her innovative approach to engaging children in the Air Force’s science mission. She has over 50 peer-reviewed technical journal publications and conference proceedings. She also received several prestigious awards in technology management and STEM leadership and is an Optical Society of America Fellow.

MAE Faculty Host: Chris Petersen


Hosted by

UF Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering