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AFIT, reach lab agreement boosts research capabilities

by Larine Barr
Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

7/29/2005 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN)  -- Scientists, faculty and students will have greater access to research opportunities through a landmark Memorandum of Agreement signed July 26 between the Air Force Institute of Technology and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Maj. Gen. Perry L. Lamy, AFRL commander, and Brig. Gen. Mark T. Matthews, AFIT commandant, signed the agreement.

"This solidifies the long-standing relationship and common goals that both organizations share and allows us to more fully leverage our resources," said General Lamy after signing the agreement. "Both organizations have a critical role in creating the Air Force of the future, and together we can solve future challenges."

In the works for nearly one year, the agreement forms a strategic alliance between both organizations, which have been in partnership for more than 50 years, to consolidate 10 separate agreements into one corporate agreement. It supersedes all other existing agreements between the lab's 10 technology directorates and AFIT.

"Today is significant and fortuitous -- this MOA gives us greater ability to rapidly respond to the needs of the Department of Defense and the warfighter in the field," General Matthews said during the ceremony.

The agreement was established for two reasons: education and research opportunities, said Jack Blackhurst, AFRL plans and programs directorate here.

"We look to AFIT to educate our future scientists and Air Force leaders and to leverage AFIT research talent and lab facilities," he said.

While both organizations have performed coordinated research programs for many years, the agreement clears the path for streamlined access and resource sharing among the lab's sites across the United States and AFIT.

"We want to break down any barriers for AFIT interaction at all of our sites," Mr. Blackhurst said. "This past year, AFIT established a full-time professor at Kirtland Air Force Base (N.M.) and they have created agreements with the University of New Mexico. We hope to explore educational opportunities like this at our other sites."

Key elements of the agreement are to jointly develop personnel expertise and competencies in research areas of mutual interest, define the support required for major collaborative research programs and shared facilities, regularly review and highlight partnership accomplishments, and identify opportunities for multipartner teaming with other organizations to accomplish research objectives.

One of the primary benefits of the agreement will be increased flexibility among AFRL researchers and AFIT faculty and students, Mr. Blackhurst said.

"Researchers will be able to choose topics based on annual research calls, which are centered on topics of Air Force interest -- specifically air, space and information technologies," he said.

Another part of the agreement calls for increased interaction among the leaders of both organizations by holding an annual summit, a yearly interchange meeting and an annual Technology Days event. The agreement also establishes a partnership working group, composed of the AFRL chief technologist, AFRL chief scientists and AFIT Graduate School deans and department heads. (Courtesy of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)

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