The renewed partnership with Air Force Research Laboratory is an exceptional opportunity for La Salle students and faculty

April 3, 2024

The Education Partnership Agreement provides access to unique equipment and the expertise.

Madjid Tavana, Ph.D.

The agreement allows students to gain experience working with state-of-the-art technologies, while faculty publish their research in academic journals, Madjid Tavana, Ph.D., explained.

La Salle University has signed an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate that will enable faculty and students to engage in research projects at AFRL facilities and access to unique equipment and the expertise of AFRL’s scientists and engineers. 

“This agreement is different from a typical memo of understanding, which is very structured with specific parameters,” Madjid Tavana, Ph.D., professor and chair of La Salle’s Business Systems and Analytics Department said. “An EPA with AFRL is broad and lacks specificity by design. For example, faculty qualifying for the program can participate in long-term summer research projects at AFRL facilities and can each take one or two students with them. AFRL will pay the faculty and the students a stipend to engage in research and development projects. Students gain experience working with state-of-the-art technologies, while faculty publish their research in academic journals.”  

AFRL is responsible for planning and executing the Air Force’s science and technology program. As a defense laboratory, AFRL is responsible for encouraging the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at all levels of education by entering into education partnership agreements with educational institutions in the United States.   

Usually, AFRL announces their projects in September, and interested faculty (and students) can apply to these projects through November. The selection process starts in early January and is very competitive. If selected, faculty and students will participate in 8- to 12-week research residencies at participating AFRL facilities.   

“While there are no guarantees, as an added benefit, students who complete these fellowships are often hired by the United States Department of Defense, Air Force, or AFRL,” Tavana explained.  

Other partnership benefits include the potential for AFRL to loan defense laboratory equipment to La Salle or even transfer surplus laboratory equipment to the University. AFRL laboratory personnel are also available to teach science courses, participate in training programs, helping us to identify emerging areas of interest that can be used to ensure our courses are innovative, and provide academic and career advice and assistance to our students.  

Tavana has worked on several classified and unclassified projects at AFRL, and some of the unclassified projects include risk analysis modeling for assessing availability and integrity in command-and-control systems; workforce planning and business process reengineering; and network-centric multi-criteria modeling of joint air operations. Each project has been at least three months, and some have been extended beyond three months through extension grants. 

“La Salle and the School of Business are proud to continue our collaboration with the USAF AFRL,” Mark A. Ritter, D.B.A., dean of La Salle’s School of Business, said. “We are committed to advancing opportunities for our students and faculty that are on the cutting edge of research.”