Currently, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) outsources 80 percent of its research program to academia, with over 250 academic partners in all 50 states, and to industry, through a mix of grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, and other forms of transaction.1
PARTNERSHIP IN TRANSITION PROGRAM
Under a special initiative of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA[ALT]), the Partnership In Transition Program (PIRT) is an Army–HBCU (historically black college or university) program established as the second phase of the former Battlefield Capability Enhancement (BCE) program. It employs a center of excellence (COE) model. The purposes of the program are as follows: (1) to enhance the research programs and capabilities of a select number of high-interest scientific and engineering disciplines through Army-relevant, topic-focused, near-transition-ready innovative research and (2) to strengthen the capacity of HBCUs to provide excellence in education and provide opportunity for them to conduct research critical to the national security functions of the Department of Defense (DoD). The PIRT Broad Agency Announcement was released in July 2010 and closed October 2010. There were 11 topics and numerous proposals per topic; it was highly competitive. Five proposals were selected and awarded to four HBCU-led consortia in four topic areas. Each cooperative agreement has a manager and a comanager, one from ARL/ARO and the other from ARL Directorates (or the Engineer Research and Development Center [ERDC]) to enable transition. Programs are funded at between $400,000 and $500,000 per year for 3 to 5 years.
COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH ALLIANCES
Collaborative research alliances (CRAs) are alliances that bring together expertise from government, academia, and industry to address some of the fundamental scientific and technological underpinnings of our military defense systems. ARL has a history of successful collaborations, bringing together strong research talent from government, academia, and industry to develop creative and novel capabilities for the Army. Each CRA possesses unique strengths, and its developments will be transitioned into and aligned with the relevant needs and directions of the ARL enterprise. This ARL enterprise has the unique focus to deliver enabling capabilities that integrate state-of-the-art techniques, knowledge, and experience. Through the collaborations among the many participants, the enterprise is expected to move the ARL forward, along with its major laboratory programs, toward a vision of robust
multiscale control over Army materials. Typically a university will lead this effort. Duration and level of funding vary with the programs.
COLLABORATIVE TECHNOLOGY ALLIANCES
The collaborative technology alliances (CTAs) are partnerships between Army laboratories and centers, private industry, and academia that are focusing on the rapid transition of innovative technologies to the warfighter to enable the Army’s Future Force. The collaboration between industry, academia, and government is a key element of the CTA concept, as each alliance member brings with it a distinctly different approach to research. Academia is known for its cutting-edge innovation; the industrial partners are able to leverage existing research results for transition and to deal with technology bottlenecks; the Army Research Laboratory’s researchers keep the program oriented toward solving complex Army technology problems. Thus, multidisciplinary research teams are generating the complex technology needed to solve the Army’s complex problems. This approach enables the CTA program to bring together world-class research and development talent and focus it on Army-specific technology objectives for application to Army needs. Typically, industry will lead these efforts. Programs are typically funded at $5 million to $8 million per year for 5 to 8 years.
INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIVE ACTIVITIES
ARL makes use of international collaborative activities with allied defense establishments to leverage its mission-funded R&D investments. ARL has a vigorous international program with the lead on numerous active and proposed bilateral agreements, as well as support to other Department of the Army (DA) and DoD agencies in their cooperative programs. These agreements enable cooperative research programs with allies in selected technology areas where their strengths complement ARL’s and offer good leveraging opportunities. For example, tactical information processing with Germany, solid state laser research with Israel, laser beam attenuation with Israel, and fuel cell research with Singapore. ARL has established a pioneering cooperative research program with the United Kingdom in network and information science through an International Technology Alliance (NIS-ITA). Under this arrangement, the United States and the United Kingdom jointly created and funded a consortium of industry and academic partners to perform research in which both countries, and the consortium partners, benefit and share intellectual property rights and will commence work to transition projects beyond the fundamental research program. In addition, extensive cooperative activity takes place through multinational forums including The Technical Coordinating Panel (TTCP), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Research and Technology Organization (RTO), and the five country senior national representative-Army (SNR(A)) working groups. Duration and level of funding vary with the programs.
UNIVERSITY-AFFILIATED RESEARCH CENTERS (UARCs)
A university-affiliated research center (UARC) is a strategic DoD research program that is associated with a university. UARCs were established to ensure that essential engineering and technology capabilities of particular importance to the DoD are maintained. UARCs are designed to provide critical mass in research areas that meet Army and DoD future needs and anticipated combat requirements. They are university-led collaborations between universities, industry, and Army laboratories that conduct basic, applied, and technology demonstration research. The universities, considered to be at the forefront of science and innovation in any given research area, provide dedicated facilities and share space with Army and industrial participants. The industrial partners provide competence in related technologies and expertise in transitioning technologies from the lab to the market, and they share the costs. Each UARC
conducts research where breakthroughs are likely to enable revolutionary capabilities for our warfighters. UARCs are typically funded at between $5 million and $10 million per year for 5 years (renewable). To date no HBCU/MI has been a UARC or a formalized partner with a designated UARC.
CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE
The Army COE program for HBCUs/MIs was established in FY2004 at the initiative of ASA (ALT). Its purpose was to explore and mature technologies with potential to enhance the Future Force Team with battle labs for requirements input and continuing refinement/prioritization. It also was to intended to enable and enhance HBCU/MI organic research capabilities. The COEs comprise university-led focused initiatives and competitive contracts. FY2008 and FY2009 were the last funding years for this program.
MULTIDISCIPLINARY UNIVERSITY RESEARCH INITIATIVE
This program is part of the University Research Initiative (URI) and is managed by the DoD research offices: the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the ARO, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Awards take the form of grants. The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program supports university teams whose research efforts intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline. MURIs are typically funded at approximately $1.25 million per year for 3-year periods.