ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University was awarded a three-year $8.9 million cooperative agreement from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to launch a regional research hub to spark collaborations between partners in academia, government, and industry across the Mid-Atlantic region, according to a news release on the Cornell Chronicle website.
The hub’s goal is to accelerate the translation of ideas into economic impact and jobs through intellectual property and new business opportunities that benefit both commercial and defense markets.
“The synergies arising from the adjacency of scientists, engineers, and professionals in the hub will create a unique and sustainable ecosystem that will aide significant technological advances and enhance U.S. national security,” Cornell Provost Michael Kotlikoff said.
“The Mid Atlantic AFRL Regional Hub will foster research, catalyze technology transitions, accelerate the pace of commercialization and entrepreneurship, and facilitate workforce development, which align with Cornell’s mission to propel scientific discoveries to deployment,” Emmanuel Giannelis, VP for research and innovation and principal investigator on the project, said.
Initial partners of the Mid Atlantic AFRL Regional Hub include Princeton University, Binghamton University, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Griffiss Institute’s Innovare Advancement Center, as well as corporate partners such as GE Research, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Corning, and Amazon. After the launch, the hub plans to expand this core group to include other institutions. The pilot initiative will also include a regional hub in the Midwest led by Purdue University.
The hub will integrate the talent, scientific infrastructure, and networks of all partners to identify innovations for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force. Transdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, business experts, and entrepreneurs will bridge the gap between these discoveries and commercialization. It will also provide experiential-learning opportunities for students and postdoctoral associates as well as connect AFRL scientists and engineers with private industry.
The hub will be built on three core competencies: integrated-distributed infrastructure for accelerated data development, technology-translation pipeline, and workforce development. Its two initial strategic-research themes are measurements in extreme environments and complex-systems modeling.
It will work to measure the performance and develop technologies for extreme environments using the high-energy X-ray capabilities of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to work on projects such as basic-metals researching including understanding the performance of alloys produced with additive manufacturing and the development of thermoplastic composites.
In its other research area, the hub will use artificial intelligence and machine-learning models to enable intelligent automation and optimal decision support for complex adaptive systems.