UD, U.S. Army announce research and development agreement
UD President Patrick Harker, left, and Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice sign the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement during ceremonies Tuesday in Newark.

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12:45 p.m., Jan. 26, 2010----The University of Delaware and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) today signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), creating a powerful research partnership between UD's Category 1 research capabilities and Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Maryland.

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A CRADA is a written agreement between a private entity and a government agency to work together on a project through their laboratories, personnel, facilities, equipment or other resources to conduct specific research or development efforts that are consistent with the agency's mission.

The CRADA was signed by UD President Patrick Harker and Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice, commanding general of RDECOM and installation commander of APG, during a ceremony held Tuesday at the University's Newark campus.

The signing was witnessed by John Miller, director of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL); Gary Blohm, director of the Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC); Delaware Gov. Jack Markell; U.S. Rep. Michael Castle (R-Del.); Newark Mayor Vance Funk; State Sen. Liane Sorenson (R-Hockessin); Delaware State University President Harry Williams; Cecil Community College President Stephen Pannill; and UD faculty, staff and students.

In addition to the CRADA, Miller, Blohm and Jack Gillespie, director of UD's Center for Composite Materials (UD-CCM), signed a Cooperative Statement of Work to be carried out under the new CRADA. The work will focus on antenna technology and composite materials and will involve two Army research centers -- CERDEC and ARL -- as well as UD-CCM, which in 1996 was named one of just three Army Research Laboratory Materials Centers of Excellence in the nation.

“It's hard to imagine a partnership with more promise than the one we're establishing with Aberdeen Proving Ground -- one whose benefits could affect more people or affect them more critically,” Harker said.

“Strategic collaboration between our two organizations makes sense: Our core research strengths align well, and we have a long and successful history working with one another. Of course, physical proximity also makes this partnership a good fit: UD is the closest Category 1 research university to APG,” Harker said.

Justice thanked Harker for his “aggressive leadership” in making the partnership happen. “We know you're dead serious,” he said, “because you've showed it by your actions, and in the Army we know that actions speak louder than words.”

Justice also lauded the University for its excellence in engineering. “We're hiring engineers with all skill sets,” he said, “and many of your strengths align closely with our needs. Your mindset -- the way you think as engineers -- is what we're looking for.

“The most powerful asset this nation has,” he added, “is not its technology but the people who find new ways of moving our nation forward. We look forward to the opportunity to take your students and help them put their education to purpose -- to bring them the applications that will make their entire education come to life.”

Markell referred to the CRADA as formalizing “an amazing partnership that will strengthen our economy.”

Delaware, he said, is responsible, flexible, agile, nimble and committed to the partnership. “We have a proud legacy of innovation in this state that goes back hundreds of years,” he said.

Harker said the formalized partnership with APG will be an important influence on the transformation of the former Chrysler site, which is now owned by UD, into a major center of innovative science, technology and engineering, and a dynamic incubator of new entrepreneurial businesses.

Last year, Castle announced that the Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC) program would create 8,000 jobs at APG, with many of those moving from Fort Monmouth, N.J. An additional 16,000 jobs could be created outside to serve the needs of the expanded APG, which will house the Army's Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C4ISR) complex.

“These jobs are highly scientific,” Castle said at the ceremony, “and the University will prove to be very important in this partnership in terms of not only providing graduates to be employed by the Army but also serving employees who will take advantage of the opportunity to continue their education. This whole geographic area will benefit from the economic surge we're going to see at Aberdeen.”

David Weir, director of UD's Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships, said the University has been discussing a variety of partnership opportunities with the Army commands at APG, including recruitment of UD graduates, internships for UD undergraduate students, graduate education and expanded research collaborations.

Attending the event were the deans of the University's seven colleges: Robin Morgan of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, George Watson of the College of Arts and Sciences, Bobby Gempesaw of the Lerner College of Business and Economics, Nancy Targett of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, Michael Gamel-McCormick of the College of Education and Public Policy, Michael Chajes of the College of Engineering and Kathleen Matt of the College of Health Sciences.

Article by Martin A Mbugua and Diane Kukich
Photo by Evan Krape