For the first time ever within the UC system, the Army Research Laboratory West (ARL-West) has partnered with UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE), as a part of ARL’s Open Campus Initiative (OCI). The goal of this partnership is to collaborate on long-term and short-term technological needs for soldiers. As part of this collaboration, a Joint-Work-Statements (JWS) under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) was established to encourage the exchange of research ideas between UCR Faculty and ARL scientists.
At the forefront of this partnership are UCR professors Ashok Mulchandani, Alexander Balandin, David Kisailus and Roger Lake, alongside ARL research scientist and UCR graduate Mahesh Neupane. Under their supervision, UCR can provide experimental data to ARL while ARL shares data from their projects. “Graduate students are able to conduct research in my lab and get exposure to real life problems while also receiving feedback from army research lab representatives,” said Balandin in an interview with the Highlander.
UC Riverside was chosen as a partner by the ARL-West due to its diverse faculty and student population as well as UCR’s extensive research in material synthesis and device fabrication. To ARL-West, UCR’s diversity means people who can bring about new approaches of solving a problem.
“The long term goal is to have this seamless collaboration between UCR and ARL, and have researchers from both sides to work together closely in order to solve common problems. UCR faculty can travel to the main ARL-West campus in Maryland to work there and bring their results back to the campus,” stated Neupane.
This partnership opens up many opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students on campus. Through this collaboration students can see how the fundamental sciences they learn about in classes can be implemented in real life situations. “Having resident ARL-Scientist, Dr. Mahesh R. Neupane, managing this collaborative effort is a win-win proposition for not only faculties, but also students because this allows them to have a first-hand experience of working on scientific and technical problems related to national security,” wrote Mulchandani.
Since the beginning of this collaboration, many UCR students have already been able to get involved. Last year, several material sciences, electrical engineering and computer science students were able to intern with ARL-West. For example, UCR graduate students Chun-Yu Huang and Sahar Naghibi are currently working with the lab under this partnership. Huang works on fabricating nanostructure for Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Phonon Engineering project and Naghibi is currently working on the development of non-curing thermal interface materials (TIMs) for advanced electronics.
“I am very happy get a chance to work in ARL and know the people who work in ARL are interested in our research and want to work with us. It is very nice and hopefully there will be more opportunities like this for us to continue our research,” wrote Huang.