The scope of the research projects encompasses a broad range of evolutionary and revolutionary technology advances within varied AFRL research topic areas, including structural and functional materials and applications, support for operations, manufacturing technology, radio frequency sensing, electro-optical sensing and spectrum warfare.
Layered sensing exploitation and enabling sensor devices/components, high speed systems, thermal management systems, rocket propulsion, turbine engines, aerospace vehicles, human-centered intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, bio effect, and training and decision making, are other topic areas of interest
“There are many benefits to this program,” said Asheley Blackford, AFRL RCP program manager. “It creates a new source of quality university research with a highly trained pool of excellent student and engineering graduates. It also increases diversity of the workforce along with allowing access to innovative thoughts from culturally and scientifically diverse sources.”
AFRL has previously funded individual graduate student research projects. This effort is specifically designed to create a national infrastructure that will build a lasting pipeline that brings science and engineering students from minority-serving institutions to the AFRL and strengthens research connections between the AFRL and MSIs.
“Our fundamental goal is to develop the kind of community network that not only develops students’ skills, but also builds a meaningful relationship for the long haul between the institutions we’re working with,” said Michael Groeber, associate professor in integrated systems engineering at OSU and research director for the project.
The consortium will help member institutions identify potential projects and develop proposals for AFRL and other DOD research projects. The consortium will also subcontract awards to the participating members: The consortium leadership (OSU, WSU and AFRL) will review proposals, select projects for funding and offer technical support to MSI teams that receive funding through the consortium for research. And, the AFRL will work with researchers throughout the lab to identify projects that would benefit from outside help.
The environment at AFRL is unique. It enables students to truly experience the culture and research with strong personal experiences.
“I felt very relaxed and comfortable from the first day I arrived for work, and the environment is very friendly,” said Cristian Orozco, graduate student from the University of Texas El Paso. “My mentor introduced me to a slew of people that were always willing and eager to help me learn. I was empowered to independently perform hands-on work in the lab.”
Maintaining contact with each other is a great networking opportunity. Making new friends and learning a lot is priceless, Orozco said.
This program permits students and faculty to be part of the cutting-edge technologies developed in AFRL as well as leaving a strong technical footprint through collaborations. Research institutions have incorporated new competencies and curriculum to not only advance the institutions, but the expertise of students across the nation. Students are grown into interdisciplinary researchers who are trained across multiple disciplines as the new workforce of the future. About AFRL The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Air Force and Space Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,000 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit www.afresearchlab.com.