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UD President Patrick Harker, left, and Maj. Gen. Nickolas Justice sign the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement during ceremonies Tuesday in Newark. UD photo by Evan Krape

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UD, U.S. Army announce research and development agreement

Media contact: Martin A Mbugua, (302) 831-8749, [mbugua@udel.edu]

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.

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.

Justice 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.”

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.

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