Top Army research lays out innovation priorities at Innovation Summit


Credit: ARL Public Affairs

ADELPHI, Md. – (September 11, 2017) – Innovation is as much a business model as it the engine that propels basic research by nearly 2,500 scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the service's corporate lab headquartered just outside of nation's capital in Adelphi, Md.

ARL Director Dr. Philip Perconti is scheduled to speak September 12 at 11 a.m. to industry and government officials during the Defense & National Security Innovation Summit at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, in Norfolk, Va. There, he will lay out the Laboratory's innovative front- and back-office initiatives, highlighting recent science and technology successes and Laboratory's unconventional business model, Open Campus.

Earlier this month, ARL transitioned small autonomous robots and other microsystems, developed through its 10-year Micro- autonomous Systems and Technology Collaborative Technology Alliance, to its newest, and one of its most aggressive research efforts, The Distributed and Collaborative Intelligent Systems and Technology program. Future large and small swarms of intelligent systems – expected to contribute to force protection and provide increased capabilities to maintain overmatch – are the focus of DCIST. These systems will need to exhibit adaptable levels of autonomy and work across large heterogeneous teams of intelligent agents and Soldiers against dynamic threats in complex and contested environments and provide technical and operational superiority through fast, intelligent, resilient and collaborative behaviors, Perconti stated in similar talks.

State-of-the-art technology evolves from collaborative partnerships, like ARL's with a team from the University of California Berkeley, who developed a novel legged robotic platform for locomotion on complex 3D terrain, and with the University of Maryland and Texas A&M, who developed next generation micro-cyclocopter that exploits unsteady aerodynamic mechanisms at ultra-low Reynolds numbers to achieve high endurance, agility and gust tolerance. Collaboration with industry, academia and other government organizations was first strategically amalgamated in 2014 into what has become ARL's innovative business model, Open Campus, which was designed to create a science and technology ecosystem that emphasizes mutual reliance and interdependent collaborative research as a critical element of national security.

Open Campus focuses on three major initiatives: modern workforce management and policies, shared facilities with our partners, and fostering an entrepreneurial and innovative culture. ARL has Open Campuses co-located with its laboratories in Adelphi, MD and Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. ARL has established hubs in California (ARL West) and Texas (ARL South), and is exploring future hubs in Illinois (ARL Central) and Massachusetts (ARL Northeast). ARL West, established with its headquarters at the University of Southern California, focuses on human information interaction. ARL South, with University of Texas at Austin and other regional universities, leverages expertise and facilities throughout the south central region to accelerate discovery, innovation and transition of science and technology in support of the Department of Defense's Third Offset Strategy and the Army of 2050.

ARL has also expanded internationally, with an Army Research Office presence in Tokyo, London, and Sao Paulo. Through the Open Campus framework, ARL scientists and engineers (S&Es) work side-by-side with visiting scientists in ARL's facilities, and as visiting researchers at collaborators' institutions. Since the start of Open Campus, ARL's S&T funding has been matched by $51 million in-kind for projects that address Army-specific problems. ARL has leveraged $7.2 M of in-kind funding from Cooperative Research and Development Agreements signed in FY 2017. The CRADA is the primary mechanism used to establish Open Campus partnerships. Currently, ARL has 118 CRADA collaborators (52 academia and 66 industry) with 106 collaborators currently in negotiations.

More than 70 percent of ARL's workforce is based at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the oldest proving ground in operation in the country. This hub focuses on additive manufacturing, biosciences, energy & power, energetic materials, and cyber science.


ARL is the Army's corporate laboratory providing the science and technology for the Warfighter. Its diverse assortment of unique facilities and dedicated workforce of government and private sector partners make up the largest source of world-class integrated research and analysis in the Army. ARL consists of approximately 3,000 military and civilian employees with annual revenue exceeding $1.8 billion.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

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