News Release

New partnership will allow University of South Florida to advance US Army innovation, bolster talent pipeline

USF researchers will work with the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory

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University of South Florida



(Left to Right) Tansel Yucelen, University of South Florida associate professor of mechanical engineering, Emre Yildirim, doctorate student, Deniz Kurtoglu, doctorate student, Rebecca Harrison, doctorate student, and Samuel Carrara, undergraduate student, working on autonomous control of unmanned aerial systems.

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Credit: University of South Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (April 4, 2024) – The University of South Florida is broadening its collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense through a formalized agreement with the U.S. Army.

The five-year educational partnership agreement brings together faculty from throughout the university to conduct critical defense research and provide student internships – helping broaden the talent pipeline for future military needs. Adam Rawlett, senior research scientist for the Army Research Laboratory, and Sylvia Thomas, USF vice president for research and innovation, formally signed the agreement on March 26. 

“This new partnership with the U.S. Army Research Lab demonstrates USF’s commitment to research and innovation focused on global and national security,” Thomas said. “It will provide tremendous research opportunities for our faculty and great hands-on learning experiences and workforce development for our students. USF embraces this opportunity to strategically collaborate with ARL experts to strengthen U.S. competitiveness.”

USF researchers will be working with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. It’s the Army’s foundational research laboratory dedicated to scientific discovery and technological innovation, helping strengthen the armed forces.

“DEVCOM ARL's educational partnership agreement with the University of South Florida provides a unique opportunity to engage faculty and students to advance ARL's mission to operationalize science, build a preeminent workforce and transition innovation for the Army,” Rawlett said.

The new partnership will add to the university’s longstanding working relationship with the U.S. Army, which is evidenced by USF researchers conducting 114 Army-funded research projects worth $150 million over two decades. The Laboratory for Autonomy, Control and Information Systems (LACIS) and the Center for Wireless and Microwave Information Systems recently received $3.5 million in funding from the Army Research Lab to lead six projects. They include the development of autonomous control algorithms for unmanned aerial systems, the creation of advanced antenna technology that can change the shape and focus of radio waves in super high frequency range and radar systems that can detect challenging targets.

“This partnership will pave the way for the safe integration of unmanned aerial systems into our national airspace, leveraging cutting-edge autonomous control algorithms,” said Tansel Yucelen, USF associate professor of mechanical engineering and LACIS director, who has led more than $4.5 million in research from Department of Defense agencies.

In addition to USF serving as subject matter experts, Army Research Laboratory will provide USF with cutting-edge laboratory equipment and access to its own advanced research facilities. It will also provide students with internship opportunities through DEVCOM, making them more competitive in securing challenging careers such as in the aerospace and industrial engineering fields.

This agreement will likely grow to become a similar partnership as what USF has with MacDill Air Force Base, where there are multiple projects being conducted over the course of several years.


About the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries.  For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation’s top 50 public universities, including USF’s highest ranking ever in 2023 (No. 42). In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at

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