Pictured left to right: Andrew Nelson (Dir. of CERL), Susan Martinis (Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation), David Pittman (Director of ERDC), Bill Bernhard (Provost) and Rashid Bashir (Dean of Grainger Engineering).
Pictured left to right: Andrew Nelson (Dir. of CERL), Susan Martinis (Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation), David Pittman (Director of ERDC), Bill Bernhard (Provost) and Rashid Bashir (Dean of Grainger Engineering).

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has announced the signing of an Educational Partnership Agreement and a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the United States Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), the premier research and development center for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The EPA between UIUC and the U.S. Army ERDC will encourage and enhance study in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, such as materials engineering, computer and data science, digital twinning, material science, physics, robotics, supply chain logistics, and sustainability and resilience.

Meanwhile, the CRADA will enable closer collaboration with ERDC and UIUC, especially with the Grainger College of Engineering, in research efforts of interest to the military.

These agreements cement a long-standing relationship between UIUC and ERDC. The UIUC campus has played host to the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, one of ERDC’s seven laboratories, since 1969. 

“Under this partnership, CERL reaches into the university for support from UIUC students and interns who work with CERL engineers and scientists to conduct cutting-edge R&D while working side-by-side with some of the best researchers in the world,” said Dr. David Pittman, director of the ERDC and chief scientist for the Army Corps of Engineers. “Quite simply, successful outcomes to the CERL and ERDC mission would not be possible without the support of these students, interns and faculty."

Highlights of that strategic partnership include adapting 3D printing methodology for additive construction; developing an improved system for washing military vehicles; creating the Digital Opacity Method, which used off-the-shelf still cameras and modeling software to measure atmospheric plume opacity efficiently and accurately; developing a facility for earthquake engineering and shock testing; and evaluating micro-hydro units for army resilience.

“UIUC has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the ERDC that began more than 50 years ago with the founding of CERL on our campus. Our civil and environmental engineers, among others, have partnered with CERL scientists to solve some of our military’s most immediate and complex challenges,” said Rashid Bashir, dean of UIUC’s Grainger College of Engineering. “This agreement will further reduce the barriers of collaboration between our two organizations to enhance educational efforts that are essential to our nation’s well-being.”

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