The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is launching a competition for the Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to conduct related research, education and training.

The agency plans to name the winning host "within the next year," according to its notice of intent announcement. The COE will be a geographically dispersed coalition of the FAA, university partners and their affiliates. The winning team will be funded through matching grants and cost-share contracts from non-federal sources so that the center can be an independent and national source for information, the agency announced March 28.

The center will support a broad range of research topics, including air traffic control interoperability, airport ground operations, command and control, detect and avoid, human factors system, performance privacy practices for UAS, operations system engineering, unmanned aircraft pilot training and pilot certification.

The FAA will discuss COE and UAS technical requirements at a public meeting that will be held in the Washington, D.C. area in May, and will issue a draft solicitation for the center and allow time for public comment.