Open Campus


The mission of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is to provide innovative science, technology, and analyses to enable full spectrum Army operations. To execute this mission ARL leverages America's most substantial intellectual resource – its academic scientific research community.

ARL's technical portfolio encompasses a broad array of technical areas as well as technology maturity levels, from discovery of first recognized phenomena to innovative systems. This extensive, dynamic, and elaborate technical landscape offers many opportunities that can potentially lead to breakthroughs in science, technology, and analysis.



The concept of a defense laboratory was inspired by Thomas Edison's vision of "a great research laboratory" maintained by the Government. This vision led to the creation of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1923. In 1945, Vannevar Bush's concepts documented in Science: The Endless Frontier became a model for how the United States would pursue its scientific endeavors. Bush stressed the necessity for the establishment of a robust/synergistic university, industry, and government laboratory research system. Over the past 60 years, organizational changes and consolidations have created the National Laboratories structure and a DoD research laboratory structure now known as the Defense Laboratory Enterprise (DLE). However, the DoD research laboratory structure and operation have not changed since their establishment, while the university and industry research capabilities have evolved with the changing research and economic environments. This shift and the rigid and insular nature of the DLE have caused an erosion of the university/industry/government lab synergy that is vital to the discovery, innovation, and transition of science and technology critical to national security. In addition, the pace of technological change from 1990 to 2013 far exceeds the technology pace observed from 1950 to 1990 and will more than likely continue to increase beyond 2013. The globalization of technology requires novel and new collaboration mechanisms that will reenergize the university/industry/government lab synergy.

To address these challenges, ARL is piloting a new business model that will create a more efficient and effective defense laboratory that can be adaptive and responsive to the challenges of 21st century national security. It is widely acknowledged that innovation depends on bringing multiple disciplines together to engage in collaborative projects that often yield unpredictable, but highly productive results. Formal and informal interactions among scientists lead to knowledge-building and research breakthroughs. ARL's Open Campus Concept is a collaborative endeavor, which the goal of enabling cutting-edge achievements in emerging basic and applied research areas that hold significant promise for the Army. Participation in ARL's Open Campus will provide ready access to ARL's facilities, researchers, and capabilities for all partners, including foreign nationals.

Currently, ARL seeks to attract academic and industry partners for the summer of 2014 to collaborate with ARL scientists and engineers in areas of common research interest. Open Campus Opportunities outlines research areas where academic and industry scientists and engineers would collaborate alongside Army scientists and engineers in our facilities. The academic community and industry benefit from this arrangement through collaboration with ARL's research staff at ARL's unique research facilities, or by engaging ARL researchers to bring their research perspectives and expertise to academic campuses.

ARL's researchers and academic and industry collaborators will engage in high-impact basic and applied research in a broad array of scientific and technical areas to enable technological superiority to the future Warfighter. Seven science and technology research areas have been identified within ARL's overarching campaign plan for Strategic Land Power Dominance for the Army of 2030 and beyond, and include:

Human Sciences - Basic and applied research focused on gaining a fundamental understanding of warfighter performance enhancement; training aids; human-machine integration; group formation, dynamics, and behaviors; trust and influence; and technology impacts on cultures and society.

Information Sciences - Basic and applied research focused on gaining a fundamental understanding of information generation, collection, assurance, distribution, and exploitation; high performance electronic components and devices; and synthetic biological systems.

Sciences for Lethality and Protection - basic and applied research focused on gaining a fundamental understanding of armor, under body, scalable effects, cyber and electronic warfare, and human injury mechanisms.

Sciences for Maneuver - Basic and applied research focused on gaining a fundamental understanding of advanced mobility systems and their supporting architectures, including decision support sciences, intelligent tactical systems research, and high efficiency energy generation, storage, and distribution.

Computational Sciences - Basic and applied research focused on gaining a fundamental understanding of computer hardware, high efficiency algorithms, and novel mathematical methods.

Materials Sciences - Basic and applied research focused on gaining a fundamental understanding of structural, electronic, photonic, and energy materials and devices.

Assessment and Analysis - Development and application of analytical tools and methodologies to quantitatively assess the military utility of Army, DoD, and select foreign combat systems, and help influence requirements for future Army systems.


Last Update / Reviewed: March 5, 2014