News | Nov 8, 2018

Study underway on military’s cooperative research agreements

TechLink launches the first-ever economic study of CRADAs

Dr. Ron Polcawich inspects a millimeter-scale robotic leg structure at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Maryland.

Army photo

BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) that have enabled military laboratories to partner with industry experts for many years are the focus of a new review.

TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary for technology transfer, announced Thursday that its economic researchers had started contacting private-sector companies and collecting data. The study’s purpose is to quantify how CRADAs have benefited the national economy and defense mission.

“We’re reviewing nearly 900 CRADAs from Department of Defense labs going back to 2000 and contacting the industry partners with questions about economic activity,” said Dr. Michael Wallner, TechLink’s economic research lead.

The first-ever CRADA economic impact review will be completed over the next 12 months by Wallner and four colleagues at TechLink.

“Like our other economic impact studies for DoD, we’ll be maintaining strict confidentiality for the companies, releasing only aggregate results,” Wallner said. “Company names will not be in the final report.”

The data collected will be analyzed in collaboration with the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

It is a DoD-wide study, but Techlink is beginning with CRADAs signed by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. Agreements with Navy and Air Force laboratories will be analyzed next spring.

Wallner said analysis of all the agreements is expected to be made public in fall 2019, with a final report sent to leaders in the Pentagon and Congress.

Contact: Michael Wallner, or 406-994-7775