April 17, 2020

Purdue renews, expands Sandia National Laboratories partnership

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University and Sandia National Laboratories have signed a memorandum of understanding to renew and expand the strategic partnership that began in 2015.

Theresa Mayer, Purdue executive vice president for research and partnerships, and Susan Seestrom, chief research officer at Sandia National Laboratories, signed the document in a virtual meeting on Friday (April 17). The new partnership extends until 2030.

The agreement specifies many areas of partnerships, and the research collaborations will be focused in four areas of mutual interest:

The two organizations are partnering on programs for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Semiconductor Research Program, including the Joint University Microelectronics Program (JUMP); the Center for Heterogenous Integration Research on Packaging, which integrates microchips into packages; and the nanoelectronics Computing Research Program (nCORE) through Purdue's New Limits center, which researches improvements in computer chips.

  • Advanced data science. Identifying insights from enormous datasets and using data as a fuel for artificial intelligence and automated systems are areas of strategic importance to U.S. security. Purdue's Integrative Data Science Initiative boasts many world-leading efforts in research and education.

"Sandia National Labs is a recognized world leader in technology research and implementation," Mayer said. "This partnership will allow us to work together to solve significant national issues and problems that no one institution could address alone."

Sandia National Laboratories, which is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is operated and managed by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc. National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and supports numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations. 

Seestrom said the partnership will leverage the strengths of each institution.

"Our two institutions have worked together to advance cybersecurity, hypersonic flight other research fields critical to national security," she said. "We’re building on these successes and growing a pipeline of talented scientists and engineers to solve tomorrow’s national security challenges."

Sandia and Purdue already have a visible presence on each other's campuses. Timothée Pourpoint, professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering at Purdue, is Purdue's research liaison with Sandia and is a regular presence at the National Laboratory. Eugene Spafford, professor of computer science, and executive director emeritus of Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS), completed a 2018-19 sabbatical as a Sandia visiting cybersecurity scientist.

Purdue has provided office space for Sandia employees and an intern workspace for Purdue students working on Sandia-related efforts. 

Among those employees is Kamlesh "Ken" Patel, who oversees Sandia-Purdue academic partnerships.

"The university has provided Sandia collaborative space in the heart of campus for our remote staff to engage with Purdue students on national security-related projects. This continued agreement provides a framework to build on such efforts to streamline our future partnership," he said.

“Just this past year, Purdue has received its highest amount of $1.8 million of discretionary fund from Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research & Development program. These have positioned Purdue, in collaboration with Sandia, to lead a team to respond to large federal grant opportunities greater than $10 million.”

On the instructional side, Sandia has already provided internships for more than 70 Purdue students over the previous five years and recently sponsored two projects in Purdue's Data Mine learning community, with participation of more than 20 students.

Instructional collaborations include a master's-level program in cybersecurity; an intern program for Sandia on Purdue's campus, the Sandia-Extended National Security Internship (SENSE); and a national security engineering and policy certificate program for undergraduate students.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

About Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

About Discovery Park

Discovery Park is a place where Purdue researchers move beyond traditional boundaries, collaborating across disciplines and with policymakers and business leaders to create solutions for a better world. Grand challenges of global health, global conflict and security, and those that lie at the nexus of sustainable energy, world food supply, water and the environment are the focus of researchers in Discovery Park. The translation of discovery to impact is integrated into the fabric of Discovery Park through entrepreneurship programs and partnerships. 

Writer and Purdue Media Contact: Steve Tally, 765-494-9809, steve@purdue.edu, @sciencewriter

Sandia Media Contact: Troy Rummler, 505-249-3632 trummle@sandia.gov, @troyrummler

Sources: Theresa Mayer, executive vice president for research and partnerships

Susan Seestrom, associate laboratories director for advanced science and technology and chief research officer at Sandia National Laboratories

Kamlesh "Ken" Patel, liaison, Sandia-Purdue academic partnerships

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