The Army and Alabama A&M University kicked off the new Center of Excellence in Integrated Sensor Systems at the university's School of Engineering and Technology in a ceremony June 8.
The center joins almost 300 other academic institutions that have partnered with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and its subordinate elements. RDECOM element the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, headquartered in Redstone Arsenal Ala., is spearheading the Army's involvement on this project. AMRDEC and the Department of Defense contributed $100,000 to $600,000, respectively to the center.
University officials hope the new center ultimately boosts the number of top engineers in north Alabama as well as contributing to homeland defense.
"The $700,000 center will advance the state of knowledge in areas of sensor and data fusion, contextual detection and classification, future sensor systems and architectures for missile defense, and other homeland security applications," explained Dr. Kaveh Heidary, the A&M electrical engineering professor who is the project's principal investigator.
U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith, who was present for the formal announcement, said the center will also contribute to a national push for students to pursue technological studies.
"Because of global competitiveness and the technological advances of other countries, we must attract more students with some inclination for math and sciences," Griffith said.
During the 2008-09 academic year, more than 800 students were enrolled in A&M's School of Engineering and Technology, according to the Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Evaluation.
AMRDEC director Dr. Bill McCorkle and A&M interim president Beverly Edmond praised the "first-rate" engineering school.