U of I Partners with Sandia Labs on Research Initiatives

The University of Illinois and Sandia National Laboratories signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on April 3 which outlines their mutually beneficial research efforts. Areas specifically covered in the MOU include nanoscience, cognitive neuroscience, information technologies, water technologies, high-performance computing, energetics/combustion, complex systems/system-of-systems, and high-frequency imaging and communications.

"By joining our resources together with those of Sandia National Laboratories, we can have a significant impact on an incredibly broad range of research," explained Ilesanmi Adesida, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On April 3, representatives from Sandia Lab were on campus to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining their mutually beneficial research efforts.

According to Adesida, some of the specific areas covered in the MOU include nanoscience, cognitive neuroscience, information technologies, water technologies, high-performance computing, energetics/combustion, complex systems/system-of-systems, and high-frequency imaging and communications.

David D. Carlson, a Sandia executive overseeing the organization's relationship with the university, said the intent of the agreement is to develop and pursue joint research initiatives that leverage both institutions' strengths and infrastructure.

"The general areas of collaboration include activities to support complementary institutional goals, and share and leverage specialized research facilities and equipment," said Carlson, an Illinois alumnus, with masters' degrees in astronomy and nuclear engineering. "The agreement will also increase inter-institutional collaborative engagement of faculty, staff, and students." Another U of I alumnus, Russ Skocypec, who earned his BS, MS, and PhD in mechanical engineering at Illinois, is Sandia's lead representative involved with the developing the agreement between the two research powerhouses.

Pierre Wiltzius, director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, said historically the University of Illinois and Sandia have had a very strong relationship in the physical sciences and engineering.

"We are very much looking forward to expanding our interactions with Sandia into new areas including cognitive sciences, neurosciences, and human and computer speech and vision," said Wiltzius. "This expansion will also engage faculty and students from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is squarely aligned with the strategic initiatives of the Beckman Institute and the University of Illinois."

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy, environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness. Its objectives for this partnership are to focus research efforts toward important national objectives, leverage the capabilities and facilities of the University of Illinois, and create awareness by Illinois students of Sandia as a potential employer.

Similarly, the university is interested in creating new opportunities for faculty and student research, leveraging Sandia's unique capabilities and facilities, and creating future opportunities for graduates. Sandia currently has 19 active agreements with 15 different universities throughout the U.S.