NEWARK, Delaware - The University of Delaware and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command entered into a formal partnership Jan. 26.
In a signing ceremony at the campus, RDECOM Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, with University of Delaware President Pat Harker.
The CRADA creates a partnership to work on projects through school laboratories, personnel, facilities, equipment and other resources.
"Nearly two years ago, the University embarked on an ambitious strategic plan," Harker said. "Strategic collaboration between our two organizations makes sense: Our core research strengths align well, and we have a long and successful history working with one another. Of course, physical proximity also makes this partnership a good fit: UD is the closest Category 1 research university to APG."
In short, Harker said, the university is well positioned for a close working relationship.
The partnership reinforces the command's expanding teamwork between Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland and local universities. Army officials said Aberdeen Proving Ground has the potential to become one of the leading science and technology centers in the nation.
Justice said the Chesapeake Bay region is transforming. The Base Realignment and Closure process is consolidating high-tech jobs at Aberdeen Proving Ground. "I'm hiring," Justice said. "I am hiring engineers in all skill sets. We are particularly happy to have UD as a partner. It is a world-class institution that will enhance our workforce development, expand collaboration, and create capabilities on many levels."
"Educational institutions, such as the University of Delaware, are needed as partners working toward a mutually beneficial future," said Michael Lombardi, RDECOM outreach director.
Last year, the Army hired a total of 23 UD students - either through the Student Career Experience Program or as full-time employees.
Justice said many more probably entered the Army as second lieutenants through the school's Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
"Young people are the treasure of the nation," Justice said. "An organization like the United States Army, much like this university, deals in refining that treasure. We're here to mine this goldmine, this national resource that is youth. What a perfect partnership."
The general said actions speak louder than words. "My team of folks that I have down at Aberdeen are looking forward to extending this partnership and just watching it grow in the future," he said.
Harker told the group of about 100 people at the ceremony how the agreement will help the university. "Ultimately, it means developing cooperative projects that will result in state-of-the-art capability and support to the Warfighter," he said. "Together, we will create cutting-edge science, and perhaps discover the next major transformational technology."
The agreement is an example of the hundreds of partnerships RDECOM has with academia and industry globally that allow the organization to "leverage the best technology from around the world to ensure our Soldiers have the best technology available now and in the future," Lombardi said.