ERDC announces $20 million tech challenge to advance civil works R&D through innovation, partnerships

Published 11:35 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

By Carol Coleman | ERDC Public Relations

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in conjunction with ERDCWERX has announced a new opportunity for collaboration to address some of the nation’s most critical challenges in civil works. 

This week, ERDC launched the Civil Works R&D Collider, a multi-phased tech challenge and competitive opportunity for pre-proposal submissions in 28 diverse civil works project topics, including flood risk management, inland and coastal navigation and more. The ERDC plans to award a combined amount of up to $20 million in funding to partners and innovators to address these civil works challenges. 

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The Civil Works R&D Collider supports ERDC’s civil works Commercial Solutions Opening, a fast and flexible mechanism that allows ERDC to leverage commercial research and development and accelerate innovation in civil works science and engineering capabilities. 

“This tech challenge is designed to spotlight some of the nation’s greatest needs and most significant opportunities for civil works R&D collaboration with ERDC,” said ERDCWERX Director Paul Sumrall. “We encourage interested parties to submit as ERDC anticipates awarding a substantial amount in new partnerships during fiscal year (FY) 2024.” 

“We’re looking for the best and brightest from across industry and academia to bring new technology and innovation into our civil works R&D portfolio,” said Dr. Robert Moser, senior scientific technical manager with ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory and lead technologist for the next generation water resources infrastructure strategic focus area in civil works R&D. “This is really one of the first times we’ve collectively looked across our programs to proactively align where we’re going in the future with developing partnerships.” 

Industry and academia are encouraged to submit pre-proposals via for funding consideration under infrastructure, sediment management, water modeling, artificial intelligence, robotics and data, crisis mitigation and ecosystems. Civil works project opportunities exist in basic and applied research and commercial solutions.

Submissions through the Collider will be accepted through June 26. Selected pre-proposals may receive an invitation for a virtual pitch or demonstration in addition to potential funding by ERDC. Offerors must be registered and active in the System for Award Management, or SAM, prior to submission. 

“It’s not transactional; it’s not about bandwidth,” said Moser. “It’s about bringing unique expertise and capabilities that help us solve problems in an innovative way.” 

“Collaboration is the key to successful R&D,” said Gaurav Savant, research hydraulic engineer with ERDC’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory. “There’s a lot of capability available outside ERDC and the federal government that will allow us to meet future challenges successfully if we collaborate well.” 

For more information on the Civil Works R&D Collider or to submit a proposal, please visit