peers to their academic partners in the research, so that the typical, frequent, face-to-face interactions that might occur among university collaborators in the same corridor also occur across the university-ARL boundary. For this model to apply the ARL researchers need to possess the same depth and stature in the technical area as the university researcher, and, from what has been observed, this is typically substantial. In the second model, ARL researchers perform the invaluable function of translating Army requirements and educating the academic partners on field constraints and Army needs. In this capacity, ARL helps to transform academic problems into no less challenging problems that are also of interest to the Army; that is, ARL staff act as links in the bidirectional feedback loop between academia and the laboratory.
Both models have value for ARL, and both have demanding requirements. For the first, collaborating researchers from ARL need to have as deep a fundamental understanding of the science as the university collaborator. Other characteristics also need to be aligned. For example, the publication records need to be comparable, as do external recognitions. In the second model, for the field constraints to be persuasive and for clever, responsive problem formulations, the intellectual depth also needs to be comparable on both sides. In several respects the second model is more demanding. ARL should decide on a model and an implementation strategy.
Staffing gaps, especially in connection to disciplines, were mentioned above, as have staffing issues in building the embryonic cyber-security research area and in balancing research and HPC infrastructure support. Another noteworthy case is the under-staffing of the Information Sciences Division (ISD) in CISD. Given the pulls on ISD from diverse direction, including machine translation, robotics, and customer-driven activities, the residual resources are insufficient for addressing the problems of data, which should be at the core of ISD’s research agenda. Beyond undercutting a key technical area, the understaffing of ISD has other consequences. The comparative data across divisions on publications in archival journal, after normalization by the number of Ph.D.’s in the divisions, was notably lower for ISD, which may be due to under-staffing. CISD should consider the staffing issue in ISD.
Role of Patents to Give Impetus to the Culture of Innovations
Patents are an important part of the culture of industrial laboratories and increasingly of universities. The role of patents in ARL’s culture appears to be relatively small, which may be how it should remain. However, when properly managed, patenting in the mind-set of industrial researchers enhances the culture of innovation. Major patents and their inventors are recognized universally, with significant benefits to the home organization. Financial rewards are a major incentive. Having the requisite staff to manage the legalities and processing implies increased overhead. It is good practice for organizations such as ARL to periodically review their policies pertaining to patents, the potential for collaborating and pooling resources across sister government organizations, and the methods of communicating policies to staff.
Director’s Strategic Initiative and Director’s Research Initiative
ARL is to be complimented for establishing and maintaining its Director’s Strategic Initiative (DSI) and Director’s Research Initiative (DRI), which are nurturing a bottom-up approach to the selection of research problems. The breadth and relevance of the 16 research topics currently supported by DRI are indeed impressive. If it is not already being done, tracking and analyzing the history of these projects may be useful in guiding research management.