Maryland Engineering Enters Into Five Year, $78.2M Agreement with the U.S. Army
Ask Don Woodbury, director of innovation and partnerships at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, about the school’s leadership in the U.S. Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) Data Driven Engineering Research (DataDrivER) program, and he’ll sum it up succinctly: “We’re keeping engineering on the cutting edge.”
Earlier this year, ARL awarded Maryland Engineering a $78.2 million cooperative agreement over five years to spearhead an effort integrating data science and engineering. The Clark School–ARL partnership aims to devise better methods for performing data-intensive research, and accelerate the development of research outcomes for defense, AI/ML, and more. Examples include:
“Engineering and data science are merging. DataDrivER gives us a chance to make that merger happen more quickly,” Woodbury said.
Year one: microelectronics, big data and more
Six projects are planned for DataDrivER’s first year:
Innovation in the approach
In addition to its novel outcomes, the manner in which DataDivER operates is also novel: projects have an accelerated 18- to 24-month window to a laboratory prototype demonstration and are resourced to support this accelerated schedule.
“We have a fantastic foundation of fundamental research discoveries and a workforce that is at the leading edge of key emerging technologies. We can leverage our technology and workforce to efficiently deliver compelling research outcomes to our partners and sponsors in a timeframe that is not typical for university research,” Woodbury said, drawing a comparison to the pharmaceutical companies that leveraged past research inventions to speed up development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
UMD’s close proximity to ARL provides unique opportunities for collaborations that will leverage the personnel, instrumentation, and facilities of each organization to achieve their common research objectives.
“We seek impactful innovations and discovery with our research, exploring new possibilities and multidisciplinary solutions in every engineering discipline—from industrial AI to autonomous systems that better serve our service members. DataDrivER has that kind of ambitious aim,” Clark School Dean Samuel Graham, Jr. said. “We hope our ARL partnership serves as inspiration for other collaborations inside and outside our university, and look forward to jointly creating new solutions that merge big data and classical engineering.”
May 25, 2023