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About Us

The Applied Research Laboratories of The University of Texas at Austin (ARL:UT) is a research unit that has been associated with the university since 1946. Throughout its 60 year history, ARL has been engaged in a sponsored research program dedicated to improving our nation’s military capability in applications of acoustics, electromagnetics, and information technology. As an organized research unit reporting to the Vice President for Research, ARL supports the three traditional roles of a major university: research, education, and public service.

ARL:UT TRACES ITS ROOTS TO TWO LABORATORIES ESTABLISHED TO CONDUCT RESEARCH in military applications of acoustics and electromagnetics during World War II. ARL's research programs consist entirely of sponsored projects, with the bulk of the sponsorship in the Department of Defense (DoD). No state appropriated or other university funds have ever been required to support the programs or the staff at ARL.

The nature of the research spans the spectrum from basic inquiries into the nature of signal and noise fields in acoustics and electromagnetics, to the development of prototype sonar systems for use by the US Navy. ARL maintains a number of facilities to support our research programs.
MORE information about our research programs and about the research staff.

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ARL:UT ENCOURAGES STUDENT INVOLVEMENT in its research programs through both employment opportunities and a variety of educational programs. Our students work alongside scientists and engineers, and are significant contributors to our projects. The majority of the students are from the College of Engineering. There are also a significant number from the College of Natural Sciences, primarily Physics and Computer Sciences Departments. There are typically 100– 150 students working at ARL at any given time.

The experience students gain through their participation in an applied research program is a substantial enhancement to their formal education; it also generally enhances their employability when they graduate. MORE about our students.

ARL staff members are also engaged in the educational process through teaching of courses that are relevant to ARL’s research programs including
acoustics, electromagnetics, and signal processing.

It is frequently the case that ARL researchers can bring to their teaching a valuable current perspective based on their research activities.

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IN KEEPING WITH THE TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE ROLE OF A UNIVERSITY, ARL has assumed a substantial responsibility for maintaining a signficant portion of our nation’s expertise in military applications of acoustics, electromagnetics, and information technology. In fulfilling that responsibility, ARL strives to maintain research programs that are highly relevant to current military needs, endeavors to preserve and nurture a research staff with a very high level of expertise in our core competency areas, and encourages its staff to assist sponsors in looking ahead to the future to maintain the US military’s capability to respond to future requirements.

As a non-profit organization engaged in development of military technology, ARL has been able to focus attention and expertise on projects that have resulted in substantial cost savings to DoD programs. This has occurred through application of modern technology to replace older systems that had high maintenance costs and ARL's careful “honest broker” review of industry’s bids on military systems.

ARL staff members are justifiably proud of their role in helping to ensure that our defense budget is spent wisely.

ARL:UT has been designated a Navy University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) by the Department of Defense. The UARC designation is reserved for university laboratories maintaining essential and unique core competencies in technology areas that are important for national defense. This designation allows ARL:UT to contract with the federal government on a sole source, noncompetitive basis for research and development in those essential core areas.

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More information about ARL:UT
ARL:UT evolved from two defense-oriented research laboratories established by The University during WWII.

ORGANIZATION ARL's executive director provides guidance to the 7 directors who manage the 4 research laboratories and 3 service areas. Our executive director reports directly to UT's vice president for research.

VISITING US We are located at The University's J.J. Pickle Research Campus (PRC) in the northwest part of Austin, Texas, approximately eight miles from the main campus. Get directions, maps, hotel list, etc.

DOING BUSINESS WITH US The Administrative Group handles contracts, accounting, management information, purchasing, shipping and receiving, travel, and security.


UT's main campus

Main campus of The University of Texas at Austin


1965 DRL photo

1965-The Defense Research Laboratory on UT's main campus. The lab was renamed Applied Research Laboratories to reflect the increasing role of nongovernment agencies in our sponsored projects.










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