ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The Army leverages regional expertise and facilities to accelerate the discovery, innovation and transition of science and technology through its strategic partnerships.
Working together to solve the Army’s current and future challenges, researchers at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory and their academic partners at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and industry partners Veloxint and PPG recently discussed their research and innovation activities in a promotional video.
In 2018, the Army established an S&T partnership office near Boston–ARL Northeast–so it could tap into regional talent in science and technology.
“In this northeast region we have great access to world-class universities and research institutes, startups and entrepreneurs as well as companies that are all interested in accelerating technology for our Soldiers,” said Claudia Quigley, ARL Northeast regional lead.
One of these universities is Northeastern University where the laboratory, as part of the Open Campus model, has its regional office at the Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security.
“What this model has shown now are some great successes,” said Dr. David Luzzi, senior vice provost and vice president of Northeastern University’s Innovation Campus in Burlington, Massachusetts. “A new material system for example, from research to transition into the field in 22 months when typically a new material system takes five to 10 years to make it out to the marketplace.”
The laboratory collaborates with Worcester Polytechnic Institute to help research and solve the Army’s tough problems.
“We are in a region of the country where a lot of universities are doing top research,” said Dr. Bogdan Vernescu, vice provost for research at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. “We are realizing that none of these universities have all the expertise they need to solve problems, therefore we do not compete, but we collaborate.”
Another university the lab collaborates with is the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Their motto is learning with purpose.
“As scientists and engineers we can end up focused on what the science is and not thinking about the impact it can have on society,” said Prof. Amy Peterson, associate professor for master studies, Department of Plastics and Engineering at University of Massachusetts, Lowell. “Having these partnerships with ARL helps us always keep that in mind.”
The Army’s laboratory does discovery research and then passes this knowledge on to its industrial partners.
“Typically with our research we get insights from customers and its very market focused, but whereas the ARL researchers are more fundamental focused,” said Dr. Marvin Pollum, senior research chemist, PPG, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “We do a lot of work in scaling up new products, taking it from an idea in the lab all the way to the frontlines.”
As does other companies such as the Veloxint Corporation where they design and develop products.
“We’re able to take the technologies that we’re developing here at Veloxint, specifically, nanostructured metals and making them into components that customers like the Army care about,” said Dr. Judson Marte, chief technology officer at Veloxint Corporation.
Researchers, academics and scholars agree that strong S&T partnerships are key to solving the Army’s current and future challenges.
“This is what it’s all about here – bringing together companies, government, universities – all to advance technologies for the benefit of the warfighter,” Luzzi said.
CCDC Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL is operationalizing science to achieve transformational overmatch. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more successful at winning the nation’s wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the Army Futures Command.