By Ms. Jenna Brady (ARL)February 20, 2014
In order to develop revolutionary capabilities for Soldiers on the battlefield, the Army Research Laboratory brings together world-class research and development talent through utilizing the vast intellectual capital of our nation's universities.
The lab makes this possible through programs and alliances including University Affiliated Research Centers, Collaborative Technology Alliances and Collaborative Research Alliances.
UARCs are university-led collaborations between universities, industry and Army laboratories that conduct basic, applied and technology demonstration research.
These universities, which are considered to be at the forefront of science and innovation, provide dedicated facilities and share space with Army and industrial participants.
ARL UARCs include the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, with the lead university host, the University of California at Santa Barbara, whose researchers work in collaboration with the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and its industrial and Army partners; the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California; the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies centered at MIT; and the Institute for Advanced Technology at the University of Texas (Austin).
CTAs and CRAs are partnerships between Army laboratories and centers, private industry and academia that focus on the rapid transition of innovative technologies to our Soldiers.
There are currently four active ARL CTAs, Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology, Network Science, Robotics and Cognition and Neuroergonomics, and two CRAs, Electronic Materials and Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments.
According to Dr. Thomas Doligalski, director of Engineering Sciences at ARL's Army Research Office, the lab has 1,200 grants spread across the country with various universities.
ARO's mission is to serve as the Army's premier extramural basic research agency in the engineering, physical, information and life sciences, where basic research proposals from educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and private industry are competitively selected and funded.
The main goals of ARO include creating and exploiting scientific opportunities for revolutionary new Army capabilities, driving science to develop solutions to existing Army technology needs, accelerating transition of basic research, educating and training the future S&E workforce for the Army, and preventing technological surprises.
The research that has been conducted through ARO funded programs ranges from atom optics for underground bunker/tunnel detection to nano-energetics for more powerful and insensitive munitions and propellants.
All academic research programs and efforts funded by ARO are formulated in consultation with the ARL Directorates, the Research, Development and Engineering Command's Research, Development and Engineering Centers, the Army Medical Research and Material Command, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.
The programs are also jointly coordinated and planned through the Defense Science and Technology Reliance process under the Basic Research Panel.
"ARL partners with universities and leverages their expertise in order to bring new, leading-edge ideas and techniques in to the lab in order to better serve the Army," said Doligalski.
Doligalski noted that partnering with universities brings more than just fresh and innovative ideas to the table.
"From these partnerships, ARL has been able to hire young individuals from these universities to come and work at the lab," Doligalski stated.
Doligalski added that ARL will continuously strive to significantly increase its ability to collaborate with universities as the organization heads in to the future.
By ARL teaming up with universities at the forefront of science and innovation, revolutionary ideas and knowledge of Army-related needs can be brought together to turn those ideas in to useful realities for our warfighters.