September 7, 2020

AFRL, Purdue solidify relationship with five-year education partnership agreement

Purdue University and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory have partnered to sign an education partnership agreement (EPA). The overall mission of this five-year AFRL-Purdue EPA is to encourage and enhance study and research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as well as develop the workforce opportunities for Purdue STEM students.

The focus of the inaugural program under the EPA is to grow the experiential learning and career development opportunities for undergraduates and to foster engagement of groups underrepresented in the STEM fields. Purdue and AFRL are very encouraged by this important partnership, and will increase its reach in the coming years.

This EPA’s first program, “Air Force Research Laboratory - Unmanned Aerial System (AFRL-UAS),” is presented through Purdue’s Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program. This AFRL supported group will enable a diverse team of students from various majors to work on hands-on team design projects and network directly with researchers and facilities at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s AFRL.

“We are looking forward to this new partnership with Purdue and having the opportunity to directly interact and get women and minority students excited about the challenges we solve at the Aerospace Directorate, Air Force Research Lab.” said Michael Gregg, AFRL/RQ director.

Alina Alexeenko, associate dean for undergraduate education at Purdue’s College of Engineering, said, “The AFRL-VIP collaboration is a wonderful opportunity for our undergraduate students to learn by teaming up on authentic design challenges relevant to the critical mission of the Air Force and DoD [Department of Defense]. Our students have much to gain from interactions with the enthusiastic group of AFRL mentors. The agreement also aligns well with Engineering’s GRIT+ initiative aimed to expand co-op and other high-impact beyond-the-classroom education options.”

Dan DeLaurentis, director of Purdue’s Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation, which fostered this agreement, said "This EPA is another milestone in the growing collaboration between Purdue and AFRL, following major research and education programs in hypersonics, microelectronics, and energetic materials, among others, over the past 12 months. The initial efforts under this EPA are especially exciting in that they establish foundations for talent pipeline so important for AFRL."

Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation

Purdue’s Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation –(i-GSDI) significantly impacts Purdue’s national prominence, improves its visibility and access to defense/security related opportunities, by converging  Purdue’s interdisciplinary resources to address the needs of our nation. Focused, responsive, and agile efforts by i-GSDI provide Purdue a valuable entry point for high-level engagements with governmental and industrial organizations.

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to earn academic credit while engaging in authentic and extended research and design projects related to active research areas of Purdue faculty members and national, international, and industry-sponsored design challenges.

Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate

Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base leads the discovery, development and delivery of warfighting technologies for air, space and cyberspace forces. The directorate is pushing the boundaries and creating a new tomorrow through unparalleled research.

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