Pact with Army Lab To Boost Collaborative Research, Development Opportunities

The University of Virginia’s Applied Research Institute has formed a partnership with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to share resources on an array of possible defense-related research and development projects in such areas as robotics, traumatic brain injury, coatings and corrosion, and military decision-making.

Called a “cooperative research and development agreement,” the collaboration will facilitate projects consistent with the needs of the Army Research Lab and the technology goals and needs of U.Va. scientists and engineers.

The agreement is part of the Army’s Open Campus Initiative – a way to share people, instrumentation and ideas – designed to build long-term collaborative networks of interest to the Army Research Laboratory and to participating institutions. The Army invites researchers from academia, industry and national labs to conduct mutually rewarding research projects alongside its research team leaders at participating institutions and at Department of Defense research facilities.

“When academic researchers develop defense-related technologies as part of their basic research program, it can be difficult to retroactively match their work with DoD needs,” said Joan Bienvenue, director of the Applied Research Institute. “Often you have a technology looking for an application, but by having the [agreement] in place, our faculty gains an open conduit to DoD research and development goals.”

Bienvenue noted that the agreement will promote ongoing interactions that will lead to joint publications, innovations and funding.

While the agreement will “simplify collaboration between the University and ARL, it also will help U.Va. scientists develop research avenues and projects that will be more successful in the competitive DoD research arena,” she said.

The collaboration will allow Army Research Lab staff to come to U.Va. for short visits and long-term sabbaticals, providing exposure to state-of-the-art research. Likewise, U.Va. researchers, including students, will benefit from the facilities and expertise of the Army lab staff.

“ARL has great facilities for some very specialized research that could be very valuable to U.Va. researchers, such as its Electronic Materials & Sensors Cleanroom in Maryland,” said Melissa Henriksen, associate director for university engagement for the Applied Research Institute. “Having the agreement negotiated and signed eliminates bureaucratic barriers to collaboration with ARL.”

The agreement also protects in advance the intellectual property ownership rights of U.Va. and its researchers.

“This agreement is the most recent example of how U.Va. is addressing the defense needs of our nation through our multi-disciplinary Applied Research Institute,” said John Simon, U.Va.’s executive vice president and provost. “This collaboration will increase the range of research opportunities for our faculty and students as we work with the Army Research Lab on a range of projects.”

Earlier this year the Applied Research Institute signed a similar agreement with the Navy Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. That research collaboration supports work in such areas as cyber security, big data analytics and executive education.

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Fariss Samarrai

University News Associate Office of University Communications