ARL Open Campus

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June 21, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: June 21 on

Strategic Plan

ARL”s Open Campus business model is building the framework for a global science and technology ecosystem that will foster an agile, efficient, and effective research environment supporting the continuous flow of people and ideas to ensure transformative scientific discovery, innovation, and technology transition beneficial to national security.

Research Areas

The United States Army of 2030 will operate in a rapidly changing environment, hitherto unparalleled in complexity. Developing trends and the dynamics of the Army”s future operational environment suggest that the Army”s land power dominance will demand an increased speed of responsiveness, mechanisms to mitigate or wholly eliminate tactical surprise, a capability to effectively accommodate changing alliances and partnerships, and proficiencies across a myriad of functional domains. Strategic land power dominance will be critical to the U. S. Army”s capability to conduct prompt, sustained, and synchronized operations with a force customized to the mission and poised to prosecute both combat and noncombat missions in all functional domains – air, ground, maritime, space, and cyberspace.

Since its inception in 1992, ARL has successfully evolved from a collection of individual laboratories into an organization meeting multiple mission mandates. ARL provides critical war fighting capabilities in support of deployed Warfighters and provides technologies, assessments, and analyses for tomorrow”s systems to the Army acquisition community and other customers and stakeholders.  But the world is changing.  As the Army continues to evaluate the future global environment and the many roles and missions that may be required of the Army in the future, the results of those studies provide the context within which ARL must operate.

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. The following pages describe ARL”s strategic research interests and collaborative research opportunities within the Open Campus framework.

Analysis & Assessment
Computational Sciences
Human Sciences
Information Sciences
Materials Research
Sciences for Lethality & Protection
Sciences for Maneuver
Partnering Mechanisms


The overall Open Campus goal is to develop and expand the S&T ecosystem by bringing together government laboratories, academic institutions, and the private sector to form a global collaborative network.  ARL’s Open Campus is developing a diversified national “hub-and-spoke” infrastructure to more effectively partner across the national and international S&T ecosystem. Establishing research teams with regional partners will lead to new technology directions, new perspectives on Army problems, new industry collaborators, and ultimately new discoveries that will help the Army solve current and future challenges. ARL West, established with its headquarters at the University of Southern California in April 2016, focuses on human information interaction.  ARL’s partnership, ARL South, with University of Texas at Austin and other regional universities will leverage 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.  This hub focuses on additive manufacturing, biosciences, energy & power, energetic materials, and cyber science.  ARL Central and ARL Northeast are under development.

As another means to advance collaborative fundamental research, ARL has initiated 13 research centers.   These centers are being established as a consortium of Open Campus partner organizations leveraging expertise, facilities, and capabilities on an international scale to address challenging research problems critical to the U.S. Army and National Security.  Each of our centers are seeking active partners (individuals and organizations) that have mutual interest in the technical focus area.  Please explore the information on each to learn more. 

ARL Centers

Atmospheric Science Center (ASC)
Center for Adaptive Instructional Sciences (CAIS)
Center for Adaptive Soldier Technologies (CAST)
Center for Agile Materials Manufacturing Science (CAMMS)
Center for Cyber Analysis & Assessment (CCAA)
Center for Human Injury and Performance (CHIP)
Center for Impact Physics (CIP)
Center for Research in Extreme Batteries (CREB)
Center for Semiconductor Modeling of Materials and Devices (CSDM)
Cyber Research Center (CRC)
Intelligent Systems Center (ISC)
Network Science Research Center (NSRC)
Novel Energetics Research Center (NERC)
Semiconductor Research Nanofab Center (SRNC)


[Spray Characterization Facility] The U.S. Army Research Laboratory operates laboratories, testing facilities, ranges, offices and many one-of-a-kind facilities in several prominent locations around the U.S. In many cases, the laboratory’s collaborations with other nations, laboratories, academia and industry span the globe. ARL operates from several primary locations including Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Adelphi Laboratory Center, Md., Research Triangle Park, N.C., Orlando, Fla. And White Sands Missile Range, N.M., with field elements strategically located at Army installations from coast to coast. This section provides an overview of ARL’s facilities at these locations and how they help achieve success in the management of each of ARL’s S&T Campaign Plans. The diversity of our laboratories coupled with a world-class research team are leading to unprecedented capabilities for our nation’s Soldiers—10, 20 and even 30 years from now. As you learn about ARL’s facilities, you will quickly see why ARL is leading the Department of Defense in the areas of discovery, innovation and transition of basic and applied research.  Download a document highlighting key ARL facilities.

Key Research Areas

Assessment and Analysis
Computational Sciences
Extramural Basic Research
Human Sciences
Information Sciences
Materials Research
Sciences for Lethality and Protection
Sciences for Maneuver

Key Research Sites

Adelphi Laboratory Center (ALC), Adelphi, Maryland
Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Aberdeen, Maryland
Orlando, Florida
Research Triangle Park, Durham, North Carolina
White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), White Sands, New Mexico

Field Elements

ARL also has a presence at many Army installations across the country with additional opportunities for collaboration.

Collaboration Opportunities

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. The following pages describe ARL”s strategic research interests and collaborative research opportunities within the Open Campus framework.

ARL”s Open Campus initiative is a collaborative endeavor, with the goal of building a science and technology ecosystem that will encourage groundbreaking advances in basic and applied research areas of relevance to the Army. Through the Open Campus framework, ARL scientists and engineers (S&Es) will work collaboratively and side-by-side with visiting scientists in ARL”s facilities, and as visiting researchers at collaborators” institutions. Central to the research collaborations is mutual scientific interest and investment by all partners – ARL”s Open Campus is not a funding opportunity.

Partnering Mechanisms

ARL’s Open Campus business model envisions the creation of a dynamic, cooperative science and technology ecosystem that links government assets with the global research community.  Collaboration is centered on mutual scientific interest and investment by all partners.  Open Campus partners work side-by-side with ARL research scientists and engineers, share ARL’s specialized research facilities, bring ARL researchers to their institutions to communicate a perspective on research conducted in federal laboratories, and become part of the broader DoD network.  ARL is opening areas of its Adelphi Laboratory Center to host visiting scientists and engineers, including foreign nationals, and envisions future construction of new facilities to host partners, with laboratory and office space to serve academia and small businesses, and to incubate entrepreneurial startups.

The tools available to aid the laboratory in its collaborative endeavors through Open Campus include Educational Partnership Agreements and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, more commonly referred to as CRADAs.  Educational Partnership Agreements, or EPAs, are used to encourage and enhance education and research opportunities with academia in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines relevant to ARL science and technology programs. Under EPAs, visiting students have access to world-class research facilities and are able to work side-by-side with subject-matter experts in their fields of interest. In turn, ARL is able to increase the awareness and visibility of military developed technologies, which has the potential to assist in the commercialization of military technology.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)

CRADAs provide an easy way to collaborate with ARL. A CRADA is a formal agreement between one or more Federal laboratories and one or more non-Federal parties under which the Government, through its laboratories, provides personnel, facilities, equipment or other resources with or without reimbursement (but not funds to non-Federal parties). CRADAs are authorized by 15 U.S.C. 3710a and implemented by Executive Order 12591. The governing Army regulation is AR 70-57, Military-Civilian Technology Transfer. The non-Federal parties provide personnel, funds, services, facilities, equipment or other resources to conduct specific research or development efforts that are consistent with the mission of the laboratory.

Educational Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

ARL supports the establishment and implementation of activities and programs that stimulate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Additionally, ARL encourages students to select and continue their education in the fields of STEM to increase the technical talent base available to ARL research and development efforts.

For additional information about ARL”s partnership agreements, please contact Tom Mulkern,