1. Programs with Academia
The Army's 6.1 program, approximately half of which supports basic research at universities, is a key leveraging mechanism. Through its funding of university research scientists, engineers, and their students the Army gains a window on the country's science and engineering frontiers. Without question, these research investments will produce results having an enormous impact on the army's future capabilities--through the emerging technology areas some of these funds help to support, through breakthroughs, and through discoveries not even imagined today. This program is described in more detail in Chapter V. The Army also maintains a European Research Office and supports a small amount of research at universities in Europe and Japan, in order to gain access to unique foreign capabilities (see Section VII. F).
a. University Research Initiative (URI) and Centers of Excellence (COE)
In addition to providing support to individual researchers, the Army sponsors research through two university-centered programs: the Army Centers of Excellence (COE) and the series of DoD projects known as the University Research Initiative (URI). Both address specific Army needs (see Figure VII-3). The URI's S&E education programs also address this Country's need to increase its pool of advanced scientists and engineers by supporting nearly 400 S&E graduate students annually.
Figure VII-3. Funding for University Research Efforts Includes the Army Centers of Excellence and the University Research Initiative Centers
University COEs provide an attractive institutional mechanism for Army support to graduate-level research and education. Moreover, close interactions with Army R&D organizations are emphasized, so that the center technical staffs gain a greater appreciation of user needs, while the Army R&D community interacts easily with additional peers. The Army's investment in these centers is highly leveraged, for the centers have attracted additional sources of support. Through the Army and URI centers, the Army participates with more than 30 American universities. Both the COE and the URI are described in more detail in Chapter V.
b. Interactions with the National Science Foundation
Through a memorandum of understanding, the Army and the National Science Foundation (NSF) formed a consortium which includes eight universities to attack critical problems in high-speed microelectronics, millimeter waves, and communications research. NSF provides grants, and the Army provides access to what is considered DoD's best microelectronics fabrication facility. While there, students and their mentors conduct research that benefits academia and the government. Also, the Army Research Laboratory is an industrial board member of the Software Engineering Research Center sponsored by NSF.