SSC-Natick Press Release
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Natick, MA 01760-5012
Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
Date: August 17, 2005
NSRDEC, UMass extend partnership
NATICK, Mass. -- Successes shared by the Natick Soldier Center (NSRDEC) and University of Massachusetts (UMass) will have a chance to continue and grow under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed at the Conference Center Aug. 4.
Philip Brandler, NSRDEC director and Jack Wilson, UMass president, signed the MOU that extends the agreement for a cooperative working relationship in areas of mutual interest for another three years.
NSRDEC has the mission to conduct research, development, testing and engineering relating to technologies for the individual warfighter system and support systems that sustain them in the field.
UMass provides education and conducts research and development in multiple fields, including textiles and food processing, that correspond to many of the goals and objectives of the NSRDEC.
Under the agreement, NSRDEC and UMass will work together to identify, evaluate, qualify, research, develop and commercialize appropriate concepts, technologies and products related to the individual warfighter and civilian equivalent engaged in high-risk occupations.
"I was looking over the summary of products of the MOU, and sometimes you enter a relationship for the public relations value. This is not that kind of relationship," Brandler said.
In just the last five years, the NSRDEC has hired 20 UMass students, and has worked with students on senior capstone projects and master theses programs. Several NSRDEC scientists have served as visiting scientists/adjunct professors.
UMass and NSRDEC have worked together on ballistics materials, fibers, polymer science and biomechanics research. The Combat Feeding Directorate and UMass are getting closer to developing an alternative packaging to reduce ration wrapper waste.
Photovoltaic research shared by the two groups has led to products that can power electrical accessories in tents and recharge batteries. Collaborative research at the UMass-Dartmouth and Supporting Science and Technology Directorate are exploring a biosensor to detect botulinum neurotoxins.
Another new program is investigating what's being hailed as a promising new class of anti-cancer polymers. Patented new technology by NSRDEC and UMass-Lowell inventors could lead to new classes of anti-cancer drugs.
"Whatever we have accomplished from the MOU will be expanded and increased," Brandler said.
Wilson called the NSRDEC a "tremendous resource" and said he was "happy to see the fruits of our collaboration."
A new nanotechology center in Amherst is expected to join the existing center in Lowell, together forming what Wilson said he believes will be the nanotechnology capital of the world.
"We believe in partnerships. You can see the relationship with UMass and the Natick Soldier Center is strong," Wilson said. "If it plays even a small part in strengthening the Natick Labs, we are delighted."
For more information about the Soldier Systems Center or the Natick Soldier Center, please visit our website at: http://www.natick.army.mil.