5. In-House Laboratory Independent Research (ILIR)
Independent Laboratory In-House Research is an integral part of the Army's in-house basic research program. The purpose of ILIR is to allocate 6.1 discretionary funds to the directors of selected Army research organizations to fund in-house research projects of exceptional scientific quality which have high risk but also very high potential payoff to the Army's science and technology programs. ILIR funds are distributed to Army Research, Development and Engineering Centers (RDECs), the Corps of Engineers, medical laboratories, and the Army Research Institute.
ILIR is reviewed yearly using metrics developed to assess programmatic effectiveness. The yearly review examines the quality, relevance, productivity, and resources of the ILIR work performed by each organization and determines its ratio of ILIR funding for the following fiscal year. This review results in only the best performers being rewarded. Within each organization, innovative research proposals submitted by scientists and engineers compete for the ILIR funding through internal management and technical reviews of the proposals.
Successful ILIR projects, on completion, will typically define a start-up project for 6.1 or 6.2 mission funding within the organization. In addition to providing a pathway to the development of novel and high quality research projects, by providing support for the most innovative and often speculative ideas, this program is instrumental in enhancing the recruitment and retention of outstanding scientists and engineers. The creative atmosphere fostered in this manner is essential to the identification of emerging operational concepts and technology thrusts for the future.