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ARL's Open Campus Offers Research Opportunities at APG

October 2015

Incubator opportunities onsite at APG are attractive to small businesses that aim to engage with ARL scientists and engineers. Photos by Doug LaFon, Adelphi Laboratory Center.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory has initiated an Open Campus business model designed to create a more adaptive, efficient and effective defense research environment that can be responsive to future national security challenges. It intends to expand its science and technology ecosystem by enhancing access between government laboratories, academic institutions, small businesses and industry to form a global collaborative network. This model was piloted at its Adelphi Laboratory Center in Adelphi, Md., in 2014, and is expanding to Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Open Campus engagements include collaborative access to ARL’s infrastructure, real data sets and expertise; generation of joint intellectual property; incubation of spin-off companies for the pursuit of science and technology innovations; and maturation and rapid transition of intellectual property and technologies to the industrial marketplace. The engagement of ARL scientists and engineers as visiting researchers and professors of practice at universities bring a perspective on complex, defense-relevant problems to the academic environment, attracting the next generation of scientists and engineers to careers that support the mission of national security.

“ARL’s Open Campus approach jointly leverages the expertise, capabilities and facilities of ARL and collaborative partners with mutual research interests that align with ARL’s technical strategy,”says Wendy Leonard, ARL’s Open Campus program manager. “Through the Open Campus framework, ARL scientists and engineers work collaboratively and side-by-side with visiting scientists in ARL’s facilities and as visiting researchers at collaborators’ institutions.”


ARL is hosting an Open Campus Open House at APG on Nov. 3-4 for businesses to learn more about new opportunities.

The Open Campus business model is designed to develop a collaborative research environment that brings together multiple technical disciplines, technology maturity capabilities and globally diverse perspectives to pursue challenging scientific problems of Army interest.

“The formal and informal interactions among scientists, engineers and business and technology specialists fostered by this synergistic research environment will lead to new fundamental knowledge, enhance the frequency of scientific and engineering breakthroughs, and promote the transition of technologies into engineered systems,”says Leonard.

ARL is currently establishing research centers in strategic and enduring S&T areas. Centers at ARL’s Adelphi Laboratory Center include the Specialty Electronics Center, Battery Materials Research Center, Network Science Research Center, Army Cyber Research Center and the Intelligent Systems Research Center. Research Centers at ARL’s APG location include the Center for Additive Manufacturing and Materials Processing Science, Center for Novel Energetics Research, Soldier Adaptive Systems Center and High Performance Computing Center.

“By bringing together researchers from academia, industry and government, ARL is postured to pursue Army-relevant research with the global S&T community that would be difficult for individual research groups to pursue independently. Attributes and benefits for ARL’s research partners in the Open Campus business model include collaborative access to specialized facilities and resources, engagement with diverse researchers focused on complex environments and evolving threats, the expansion of academic programs and collaboration spaces co-located at ARL sites, and the establishment of intimate working relationships with regional and global entrepreneur communities,” says Leonard.

ARL’s Open Campus outreach engages seven of ARL’s overarching Strategic S&T Campaigns: Computational Sciences, Materials Research, Sciences for Maneuver, Information Sciences, Sciences for Lethality and Protection, Human Sciences, and Assessment and Analysis. There are collaborative opportunities at APG in each of the campaigns.

“Engagement with small businesses is encouraged by providing incubator opportunities onsite at ARL, empowering and leveraging the novel approaches of these entrepreneurs through access to ARL’s infrastructure and engagement with ARL’s scientists and engineers,” says Leonard. “In 2014, the Open Campus business model enabled ARL to leverage more than $13 million in S&T infrastructure and expertise with collaborative partners through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, or CRADAs, with 78 partners, including state-wide university systems.”

ARL is planning to host an Open Campus Open House at APG on Nov. 3-4. This year’s event will provide members of the science and technology community an opportunity to learn about ARL’s Open Campus business model, hear details of ARL’s strategic research areas, interface with ARL’s scientists and engineers to discover new opportunities for side-by-side collaboration, visit ARL’s specialized laboratory facilities at APG, participate in technical presentations and poster sessions and meet one-on-one with some of the Army’s leading researchers.

“By adopting an Open Campus approach, ARL hopes to attract and retain the best and brightest to address S&T research problems relevant to our national security, open our campuses for global collaborative partnering, share and leverage specialized modern facilities and foster innovation practices. The result will be an efficient, effective and agile research system responsive to national security challenges of the future,” says Leonard.

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