Partnership Methods & Opportunities

With the current pace of technology advancement, insular research and development (R&D) organizations will rapidly lose relevance and value. ARL has adopted business practices that have created a truly collaborative research environment between it and the private sector in select technology areas. ARL has also provided the Army access to private sector sources of research with the requisite diversity and quality. Currently, 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, other transactions authority, or contracts.

Click the links below to find out more on any of the following partnerships:

ARL's Single Investigator Program

ARL's Single Investigator Program, executed through the Army Research Office, typically supporting 900 academic principal investigators per year, allows the Army to leverage world-class academic expertise, rapidly exploit novel scientific opportunities, and provides the venue to have many minds working multiple pathways.

University Centers

University Centers sponsored by ARL, accounting for $48 million in FY09, are university led initiatives that are focused on S&T issues of critical importance to the Army. Examples include: Materials Center of Excellence at University of Delaware, Institute for Advanced Technology at University of Texas, Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. More information can be found here.

ARL's Collaborative Technology Alliances (CTAs)

ARL's Collaborative Technology Alliances (CTAs) are government, industry, and academia research partnerships focused on Army Transformation technologies in which the expertise resident in the private sector can be leveraged to address Army challenges. There are four CTAs: Microautonomous Systems & Technology, Network Science, Neuroergonomics, and Robotics. The alliances include participation from Army RDECs, other service labs, other DoD agencies, and other U.S. Government agencies. These alliances are cooperative agreements for core research with task order contracts to facilitate technology transition. Funding is earmarked for novel research proposals from outside the alliances. The CTAs have 5- to 8-year durations and are resourced at $3 million to $8 million per year.

DoD Multi-Disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)

ARL successfully competes for DoD Multi-Disciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) funding. This funding provides ARL an additional opportunity to focus academic research on Army S&T challenges.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions Program (HBCU/MI)

The objective of the ARL's Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) program is to address the projected shortfall of scientists and engineers among the diverse populations of the 21st century, leverage HBCU/MI technical capabilities to fulfill ARL requirements, and expand the involvement of HBCU/MIs in ongoing research at ARL. ARL presently has Education Partnerships with six HBCU/MIs. More information can be found here.

Educational Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

Educational Partnership Agreements (EPAs) provide ARL the means to assist universities in extending their research capabilities in areas relevant to Army needs and provide an opportunity for students to work on degrees in programs of interest to ARL. Benefits to the Army are two-fold. First, the university develops scientific and engineering expertise applicable to future Army needs. Second, students working on ARL-sponsored research receive an early exposure to ARL thereby expanding the possible talent pool for future recruitment.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRDA) / Patent License Agreements

Creative partnerships through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements encourage outside businesses and university organizations to share in the discovery of and investment in technologies. Patent License Agreements permit ARL to share important mission breakthroughs with industry, pushing the technology to commercial applications. Technology transfer programs and partnerships with outside R&D organizations will continue to play a central role in ARL's technology development strategy.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

ARL is proactive in its efforts to partner with small business. Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program the Army gains access to the technological advances of small, innovative firms with fewer than 500 employees. The Army provides funding, per Public Law 106-554, for high-quality research and development (R&D) proposals of innovative concepts to solve Army/DoD related scientific and engineering problems, especially those concepts that also have a high potential for commercial use. ARL SBIR projects and our small business partners are regularly recognized for their technical expertise.

International Collaborative Activities

ARL makes full use of international collaborative activities with allied defense establishments to leverage our mission funded Research and Development (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 Department of Defense (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 U.S. and the United Kingdom jointly created and funded a consortium of industry and academic partners to perform research 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), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Research and Technology Organization (RTO), and the five Country Senior National Representative - Army (SNR(A)) Working Groups.

Economic Development Organizations

ARL participates with technology-based economic development organizations to commercialize ARL technology and to gain access to non-traditional customers and partners. Joint projects and partnerships with Aberdeen Proving Ground R&D tenants, Maryland Technology Development Corporation business clients, other local economic development organizations, and the Federal Laboratory Consortium allow ARL to develop, demonstrate, and commercialize technology for both the defense and civilian uses.


Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2010