UDC Establishes Innovative Partnership with the Applied Research Lab at Pennsylvania State Univ.

UDC Establishes Innovative Partnership with the Applied Research Lab at Pennsylvania State Univ.


September 30, 2019

John Gordon, Jr., Director of Communications
202.274.5998 (office) or 202.701.8805 (cell) or john.gordon@udc.edu
Qiana P. Jackson, Engineering Program Manager/FSO
571.266.3334 (office) or qpj100@psu.edu



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UDC Penn MOU 9-30-19 ImageWASHINGTON – The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) has formed an extremely promising new partnership with the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University (ARL/PSU). The pact is aimed at strengthening the collaborative research relationship between the two land-grant universities.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on September 20, the schools have agreed to pursue leading-edge investigations of advanced materials and manufacturing, and cybersecurity. Researchers from the two universities will work jointly on research projects and future academic collaborations.

Penn State ranks among the top 25 U.S. research universities, with over $900 million in annual research expenditures. Its University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) performs advanced research and applied technology for the U.S. Navy. The ARL/PSU partnership will elevate UDC’s research profile, and significantly enhance the scope of research and sponsored programs at the District’s only public university.

As they signed the agreement, UDC president Ronald Mason, Jr., and ARL director Paul Sullivan expressed confidence in their expectations about the partnership.
“At UDC, we are always enthusiastic about partnering with like-minded institutions, and we are pleased to form this relationship with one of the nation’s most comprehensive public research universities,” said Mason. “This agreement offers great promise to deliver vital improvements in manufacturing and cybersecurity technology, while simultaneously educating bright students who are preparing for rewarding STEM-focused careers.”

“I can’t wait to get into serious collaboration between our two teams,” said ARL/PSU Director Sullivan. “This is not only advantageous for us all, but it is also a national responsibility that is dictated by our universities’ land-grant status. ARL is particularly excited about the opportunity to recruit from the student body of UDC to continue its work as a UARC, while also increasing the diversity and success of its workforce.”

The MOU states that it will also allow ARL/PSU to “…bring senior experienced leadership with knowledge of Navy applied research…” to UDC’s campus as part of Title 10, allowing UDC “…to effectively and efficiently identify applied research opportunities, compete for those opportunities, and to win and successfully implement Navy applied research programs in their areas of demonstrated research capability.”

 “The combination of Penn State’s depth as a preeminent research university and UDC’s distinction as the nation’s only exclusively urban land grant institution makes this partnership unique among collegiate research programs,” said Dr. Victor McCrary, Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies at UDC. “Penn State’s relationship with the Department of Defense and virtually every other U.S. federal agency, gives our faculty and students greater access to a broad range of research opportunities. We are bringing together students with some of the nation’s best researchers and manufacturing engineers to tackle challenges in advancing manufacturing and cybersecurity technology.”

This new partnership between Penn State and the University of the District of Columbia, which is one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), is another new milestone as UDC expands its academic collaborations and research portfolio. Other recent accomplishments include:

  • Partnership with Brookings Institution for Presidential Lecture Series.
  • $3 million NASA award, Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Space Technology and Applied Research
  • $4.8 NSF-CREST award, Center for Nanotechnology Research and Education
  • $2.8 DOE-National Nuclear Security Administration


About the Partners

  • The University of the District of Columbia (www.udc.edu) supports a broad mission of education, research and community service across its colleges and schools: The College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences; the School of Business and Public Administration; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; the Community College; and the David A. Clarke School of Law. The University has been designated as an 1862 federal land-grant institution and a Historically Black College and University. The University of the District of Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

    The Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at Penn State is an integral part of the University and was established in 1945 at the request of the U.S. Navy. Originally focused on undersea weapons technology development, ARL now includes a broad research portfolio addressing the needs of various sponsors. ARL supports national security, economic competitiveness, and quality of life through education, scientific discovery, technological demonstration, and successful transition to application. As a Department of Defense (DoD) designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), ARL conducts essential research, development, and systems engineering in support of our nation’s priorities free from conflict of interest or competition with industry.  ARL is wholly reliant on sponsored research programs for operation of the Laboratory and therefore must maintain relevance to our sponsor base, as well as an operational agility to meet ever-changing requirements.