Purdue University has been selected by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) as a lead academic partner and headquarters for the AFRL Regional Research Hub—Midwest. Located in West Lafayette, IN, the school will help develop a science and technology ecosystem expected to extend across 15 states, more than a dozen academies, and 50 industrial members in the pursuit of enhanced national security. This Midwest hub joins Cornell University as the lead academic partner of the AFRL Regional Research Hub—Mid-Atlantic, with connectivity between the two hubs designed to encourage research efforts and the success of results. The pilot initiative between the two hubs is funded for at least three years.
The schools will lead the pursuit of technologies that can benefit both commercial and defense markets. By supporting innovative research and working closely with AFRL and industrial partners, it is hoped that collaborative efforts will lead to improved national defense as well as investment opportunities for industrial members.
Purdue’s unique laboratories (see the figure) and recent research efforts have the university an attractive academic base for the AFRL. As Theresa Mayer, executive vice-president for research and partnerships at Purdue explains: “Purdue is increasingly working hand-in-hand with government, academic, and industry leaders to develop technologies, materials, and solutions necessary to advance U. S. national security and competitiveness. We are eager to leverage those connections and our unique facilities and capabilities to drive technological innovation with AFRL.” Technology areas well established at Purdue include materials, microelectronics, and hypersonics and space systems technologies, all of interest to defense researchers.