2:57 p.m., Aug. 23, 2010----After entering into a formal partnership with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) in January, leadership from the University of Delaware assembled on July 26 to tour Army Research Laboratory (ARL) facilities at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
UD President Patrick Harker, Senior Vice Provost Mark Barteau and David Weir, director of the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships, joined RDECOM representatives and ARL Director John Miller, met to discuss ideas on workforce development and how to further expand the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.
According to Val Emery, outreach program manager, many ARL directorates at APG work very closely with the University, including the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, the Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate and the Computational and Information Sciences Directorate. Recently the Vehicle Technology Directorate has also entered into a dialogue with the University.
As an element of RDECOM's mission to recruit, develop and retain a diverse and world class workforce, the Army hired a total of 23 University of Delaware students last year, either as full-time employees or through the Student Career Experience Program.
“During the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) of 1995, we made a conscious effort to bridge the gap and incorporate University of Delaware students,” said Miller. “Our relationship with UD goes back to that time frame.”
During the lab tour, Delaware alumni demonstrated fiber interfaces and resin development, technology used for lightweight and flexible armor. Eric Wetzel, of the Composite and Hybrid Materials Branch, and also a University of Delaware alumnus, spoke about the teamwork he has had with the university in the past and the quality students, personnel and skilled people that consistently work with ARL.
“In 2000, I worked with the University of Delaware as I continued research on shear thickening fluids,” Wetzel said. “From basic research, public relations and the licensing end, UD was there to assist.”
As APG continues to transform through BRAC actions, the University is looking for opportunities to work with the installation and improve the overall experience for the students.
"The partnership between the University of Delaware and Aberdeen Proving Ground is an exciting one,” Harker noted. “We're honored to offer support to the U.S. warfighter, and we're eager to capitalize on the opportunities we see for significant growth in collaborative education and research."
Harker also remains impressed with ARL's facilities. "The campus at Aberdeen is transforming into a remarkable site,” he said. “With these state-of-the-art research facilities and our combined expertise and assets, I know our collaboration will lead to big discoveries and groundbreaking technologies."
To complete the tour, Harker visited the Army's Material Center of Excellence in Composites, as well as the future site for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) technologies.
Photos by Doug LaFon