Commercial and Defense Synergy Revolutionizes Both Markets

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Military and defense organizations around the world are advancing collaboration with academia and commercial entities in order to accelerate the development of new technological capabilities, for the benefit of both commercial and defense markets.

Cornell has been awarded a three-year, $8.9 million cooperative agreement from the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to launch a regional research hub that will spark collaborations between partners in academia, government, and industry from across the Middle Atlantic region.

The hub will integrate the talent, scientific infrastructure and networks of all partners to identify barrier-breaking innovations for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. It will establish transdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, business experts and entrepreneurs to bridge the gap between these discoveries and commercialization. Finally, it will provide experiential learning opportunities for students and postdoctoral associates, and connect AFRL scientists and engineers with private industry.

The hub will focus initially on two strategic research themes: measurements in extreme environments; and complex systems modeling. This plan will allow the hub to stay nimble, address current Air Force and Space Force interests and anticipate emerging technology challenges.

The Mid Atlantic AFRL Regional Hub will work to measure the performance and develop technologies for extreme environments using the high-energy X-ray capabilities of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to work on projects such as basic metals research, including understanding the performance of alloys produced with additive manufacturing, and the development of thermoplastic composites.

The other research area will use artificial intelligence and machine-learning models to enable intelligent automation and optimal decision support for complex adaptive systems.

According to, the initial Hub partners include Princeton University, Binghamton University, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the U.S. Department of Energy and more, alongside corporate partners such as GE Research, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Corning and Amazon. The pilot initiative will also include a regional hub in the Midwest, led by Purdue University.

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