U launches education partnership with U.S. Air Force – @theU

The University of Utah College of Engineering and the United States Air Force are proud to announce a new educational partnership that will create valuable learning opportunities for students and research projects that can advance technologies from wireless communications and cyber security to robotics and composite materials.

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A signing ceremony celebrating the agreement was held on Friday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. in the Catmull Gallery of the Warnock Engineering Building on the University of Utah campus. The university’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps honor guard presented colors at the start of the ceremony, attended by representatives from Hill Air Force Base, the base of Air Force Materiel Command located south of Ogden, including Brig. Gen. Richard Gibbs and Director of Engineering and Technical Management Thomas A. Lockhart Jr. Also in attendance were University of Utah Vice President for Research Erin Rothwell and College of Engineering Dean Richard B. Brown.

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A man in fatigues stands on a podium.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Hixson/College of Engineering

Brig. General Richard Gibbs.

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This educational partnership allows university faculty and students to work more closely with Air Force researchers on a wide range of topics that could include data analysis, machine learning for material discovery, prosthetics, engineering nuclear, additive manufacturing and more. Air Force personnel will also work with the U to develop new educational programs and make laboratory personnel available to teach courses.

Meanwhile, university researchers will have access to resources that would not be available from the Air Force, such as state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and expertise. The agreement also provides opportunities for Air Force personnel to earn certificates and master’s degrees through online programs offered by the U, such as the online Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“The U has faculty with expertise in areas that are of great interest to the Air Force. This educational partnership will help our Air Force faculty and researchers get to know each other better, which will lead to more joint research,” said Brown . “We also want their people to get more involved with our students. The partnership will be mutually beneficial.”

“In addition to deepening our relationship with the U. of U. through mentoring, internships and collaboration on defense laboratory projects, this is a great opportunity for the Air Force to find ways to transform our operations to better and more efficiently maintain our weapons systems and components in support of national defense,” Gibbs said.

Already, many University of Utah professors have or are conducting research supported by the United States Air Force, such as projects to help clean up space debris orbiting Earth and research on the use of ‘machine learning and multiscale modeling for aircraft materials.

The agreement, which was officially launched this summer, is expected to last for five years.

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