Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT)

ALERT seeks to conduct transformational research, technology, and educational development for effective characterization, detection, mitigation, and response to the explosives-related threats facing the country and the world.

ALERT is funded by the Department of Homeland Security.

ALERT is a multi-university Center of Excellence (COE) including Northeastern University (lead), Boston UniversityPurdue University, and The University of Rhode Island. See the ALERT site for a full list of Partner Institutions.

Researchers in this partnership bring strengths in advanced sensor design, standoff weak-target detection, signal processing, sensor integration, explosives characterization, improvised explosive device (IED) detonator signatures, shock physics, and material science.

This expertise, combined with resources from national lab affiliates and other industrial and government partners, form a team capable of carrying out the daunting ALERT mission.

The ALERT research program is driven by inspiring challenges, providing ultra-reliable screening, improving the ability to detect explosives at a distance, and providing a seamless transition of research to the field are among the real-world challenges the center looks to impact. These challenges have defined our four core fundamental science research thrusts:

For more information contact:


Michael B. Silevitch
Robert D. Black Professor, COE Distinguished Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering
Affiliated Faculty,  Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director,  CenSSIS
Director,  ALERT

Subsurface sensing and imaging systems, detection of explosives-related anomalies, engineered system development and engineering leadership

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Northeastern’s ALERT (Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats) is one of nine Department of Homeland (DHS) Security Centers of Excellence (COEs) located across the country. A multi-university center, ALERT conducts research and development for effective responses to explosives-related threats. ALERT is funded by a core grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate that equates to roughly $3.6 million a year. In addition to the Center’s ongoing core research award, DHS also provides each COE with an ability to obtain task order contracts targeted to develop specific security technologies and methods.