Defense and Security Research Institute

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TO: Campus Community
FROM: President Ann Weaver Hart
DATE: Monday, March 10, 2014
SUBJECT: Defense and Security Research Institute

 

With the launch of the University of Arizona’s Never Settle academic and business plan in November of last year, we are pursuing a number of new research and innovation initiatives. One critical element of our plan is to target areas where UA strengths can be leveraged to better compete for external investment.

With this in mind, I am writing to announce the formation of a Defense and Security Research Institute at the University of Arizona. The Institute will enable the UA to expand its presence in the broad research areas funded by defense and security-related federal agencies and industry, including materials, energy, medical devices, environmental sciences, and “big data.” This effort will facilitate new sources of support for areas of UA research excellence. Through discussions with faculty and other stakeholders over the last month, we have identified the need for an Institute to focus on providing expertise and support in identifying and successfully competing for new projects, and building the UA’s reputation as a preferred partner for defense and security-related programs.

In support of our land-grant mission, the Institute will accelerate collaboration between the UA and one of the most important industries in the state – Aerospace and Defense. We are in discussions with regional defense corporations, in order to ground the Institute in longstanding and valuable relationships. As a catalyst for ideas and collaboration accessible to all UA investigators and industry partners, the Institute will connect faculty with opportunities, and provide the infrastructure needed to successfully compete for large multi-investigator, multi-institutional grants. As such, it will follow a similar model of collaboration as the BIO5 Institute, which has enabled the UA’s success with the $100 million iPlant Collaborative grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Institute leverages infrastructure already in place at the UA, including units of research development, contracting, and compliance in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research; Tech Launch Arizona capacity in corporate relations and technology transfer; connections that Federal Relations has in Washington, D.C.; and research administration within individual colleges. A faculty advisory board will be appointed to advise and guide the Institute.

As an interdisciplinary center of research, the Defense and Security Research Institute will draw on the UA’s strengths and will be rooted in our culture of inquiry to benefit Arizona, the nation and communities around the world.