$100,000 in Homeland Security Awards Presented for Innovative Research

Written by on October 5, 2010 in Press Releases

October 5, 2010 Washington, D.C. – The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and AgustaWestland North America proudly recognize innovations in the homeland security arena, by awarding efforts designed to protect the United States and its citizens.

“This year four $25,000 Homeland Security Awards are being sponsored by the Foundation, an independent Federal government agency, and AgustaWestland North America (AWNA), one of the world’s largest helicopter manufacturers, and a Foundation partner since 2006,” said Kimberly Owens, Foundation Chair. “The Foundation and AWNA will present four Awards for cutting-edge technology in the diverse arena of homeland security. Innovations developed by a
university, a Federal agency, as well as two government labs will be honored with $25,000 awards for their work in four fields, ” said Owens.

Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Chemical and Explosive Attacks

Charles A. Gentile, Head, Tritium Systems, Princeton University – Plasma Physics Laboratory, is recipient of the 2010 award in this field. Mr. Gentile is being honored for the development of the Miniature Integrated Nuclear Detection System (MINDS), which can rapidly identify radioactive materials that could be used in a radiological dispersion device commonly known as a dirty bomb.

Mr. Gentile said, “Post 9/11, I realized that my previous work, performed in the fusion energy research environment, could have application in homeland security venues. I began a journey which has resulted in the issuance of two US patents, the successful licensing of MINDS technology to the private sector and deployment at locations throughout the U.S., and the receipt of this award. I am thankful to the Foundation for bestowing this prestigious award in acknowlegement of the work performed in making MINDS an effective tool in defense of our country.”

Border and Transportation Security

Milind Tambe, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science and Industrial & Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, is recipient of the 2010 award in this field. Dr. Tambe is being honored for research in game theoretic algorithms for use in counter-terrorism and homeland security. An example of his work is the Assistant for Randomized Monitoring Over Routes (ARMOR) system deployed at the Los Angeles International Airport.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award. It is a tremendous shot in the arm for our use-inspired research approach: pushing forward this synergy of basic research in computational game theory and Artificial Intelligence, with practical deployed applications in service of homeland security,” said Dr. Tambe. “I am thankful to our collaborators at TSA, FAMS, LAX police and others, as well as the DHS office of university programs and our program manager at the DHS science and technology office for their continued support of our research, and for putting together these wonderful partnerships of unversity researchers with security practitioners,” he said.

Cyber Security and Information Sharing

The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services’ (CJIS) Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx) system in Clarksburg, WV, is recipient of the 2010 award in this field. N-DEx provides law enforcement agencies with a powerful new investigative tool to search, link, analyze and share information on a national level.

“Receiving this award is a great honor for the CJIS Division and wonderful recognition of the tremendous effort by the N-DEx team to establish this new investigative tool,” said Daniel D. Roberts, Assistant Director, who heads the FBI’s CJIS Division. “This national, large-capacity system enables our partners to share criminal justice information across jurisdictions in a way not previously possible, and meets the need to search information from all aspects of the criminal justice process–from initial crime reports, to suspect apprehension, booking, prosecution, sentencing, and probation and parole. And, in addition to being a robust searchable database, N-DEx also offers analytical tools that equip investigators and analysts to more effectively do their jobs,” he said.

Emergency Response to Natural and Man-Made Disasters

Budhendra Bhaduri, Ph.D., Group Leader, Geographic Information Science & Technology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is recipient of the 2010 award in this field. Dr. Bhaduri led the development of the LandScan USA database which can estimate the population at risk during emergency preparedness and saving lives during emergency response.

“This Award is truly special as it signifies how science, specifically geographic information science, has succeeded in bringing key value to society,” said Dr. Bhaduri. “In particular, LandScan USA has enabled and empowered the homeland security and defense community in fulfilling their greatest responsibility: protecting and saving lives. It recognizes an extraordinary achievement by a group of scientists, government agency personnel, and emergency management practitioners whose collective vision, resolve and drive was instrumental for the
success of LandScan USA,” he said.

The Awards ceremony takes place on Tuesday, October 5, 2010, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the U.S. Capitol Mansfield Room (S-207), in Washington, D.C.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is an independent Federal government agency established by Congress in 1992 to “encourage and support research, study and labor designed to produce new discoveries in all fields of endeavor for the benefit of mankind.” Governed by a Presidential appointed Board of Trustees, the Foundation has established Frontiers of Discovery—Work in Progress and Discover the Future programs that recognize “cutting edge” innovations, innovative ideas of America’s youth, and honors teachers. These programs include the Homeland Security Awards, Agriscience Awards, Life Sciences Awards and Christopher Columbus Awards. Visit: www.columbusfdn.org.

AgustaWestland North America, a subsidiary of AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is FOCI mitigated and responsible for the company’s U.S government programs. AgustaWestland is a global leader in military and commercial vertical lift. With more than 100 years of experience in the aerospace industry, AgustaWestland provides an unrivaled range of rotorcraft and vertical-lift products and services for every military, government and commercial application.

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