UT Receives Record-Setting Grant from DOD For Applied Research Lab

The United States Navy has selected the Applied Research Laboratories at UT Austin (ARL:UT) to receive a record-setting grant of $1.1 billion to conduct national security-related research and development. The contract, to be disbursed over the course of a decade, is nearly a 25 percent boost in ARL:UT’s funding and will fund research on sonar devices, signal processing, sensor technologies, rugged instruments, satellite navigation, GPS, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, the handling of sensitive documents, and algorithms for laser altimetry, among other projects.

UT boasts one of the nation’s five Department of Defense University Affiliated Research Centers, which have deep strategic ties with the U.S. national security community. ARL:UT reports directly to the Office of the Vice President for Research, is the largest non-medical research institution in the UT System, and is one of UT Austin’s oldest centers.

“The research performed and advancements made at The University of Texas at Austin are unparalleled,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press release. “I am proud of the work that is already underway at Applied Research Laboratories at UT, and I am looking forward to their continued contributions to our national security. I’d like to thank the Department of Defense for their investment in UT, its students, faculty and all those involved in this growing partnership.”

Since its inception in 1945, ARL:UT has conducted research in acoustics, electromagnetics, and information sciences, provided technical advice to the DOD, and developed important technologies for the U.S. Navy. ARL:UT has led research on sonar equipment and processing techniques, GPS and satellite navigation technologies, and cutting-edge technologies, such as cybersecurity, in the field of information sciences.

Research will be overseen by the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, constructs, procures, and upkeeps ships, submarines, and combat systems for the Navy.

“Under this new agreement, UT scientists and engineers will expand their vital role developing research that advances science and promotes national security,” President Greg Fenves said. “This contract demonstrates the massive impact UT research has on the world through the breadth and depth of our programs in engineering, technology, high-performance computing and applied science.”

Over the seven decades it has been in existence, ARL:UT has hired over 4,000 science and engineering students. At present, ARL:UT employs roughly 400 scientists and engineers with a support staff of almost 750 and 100 students working year-round. As an early high-tech employer in Austin, ARL:UT shaped industry development and company formation in the state’s capital.

Many operational systems and capabilities developed and prototyped at our laboratories have made a difference in protecting the nation and improving lives,” said Clark Penrod, who has served as executive director of ARL:UT for nearly two decades. “[This work] will be increasingly important as our nation’s adversaries become more technologically advanced, and as our DOD sponsors strive to become more efficient and cost effective.”

Photo courtesy of UT.

 
 
 

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