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Case Study

Building a multi-sector ecosystem for Army robotics and autonomous research


Photo: Researchers benefit from scientific gains in other sectors.
Researchers benefit from scientific gains in other sectors.

The future of U.S. defense and national security is significantly tied to advancements in artificial intelligence, autonomy, and robotics, much of which are pioneered in the private sector and educational institutions. The Army recognizes the need to foster partnerships with these entities to enhance its Robotics Research Collaboration Campus (R2C2) in Greater Baltimore, a hub designed for experimenting with drones and autonomous ground vehicles. The main challenges include establishing a sustainable business model for R2C2, increasing the awareness of R2C2’s capabilities without engaging in overt marketing, and leveraging the facility to nurture future talent in science and engineering fields. Profile Partners was hired to help navigate these challenges and foster a thriving collaborative ecosystem.


Profile Partners crafted a strategy focusing on several pillars:
  • Market Research and Outreach: Identifying potential partners through meticulous market research and creating tailored outreach tools to engage them.
  • Communication and Engagement: Enhancing ARL’s communication outlets, overseeing public release materials, and ensuring effective communication channels.
  • Event Planning and Facilitation: Hosting events that bring together key stakeholders from federal laboratories, the academic community, and industry to encourage collaboration and showcase ARL’s capabilities.
  • Business Plan and Sustainability Model: Creating a yearly business plan focusing on self-sustainability, while also initiating a sustainment model for mobilizing external resources for R2C2.
  • Incubator Concept Exploration: Assessing the viability of establishing a robotics incubator at R2C2 to promote innovation in the field.
  • Advocacy and Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging in advocacy efforts at state and federal levels, while seeking grants and other funding avenues.


The partnership with Profile led to the nurturing of a more structured R2C2 partnership model, incorporating learnings from successful counterparts in the Army and industry. This initiative enhanced the visibility of the R2C2 project, attracting a varied group of potential collaborators and setting the stage for a robotics incubator at the facility, which signals potential for innovative breakthroughs in robotics and autonomous research. Despite the progress, challenges remain in overcoming collaboration barriers often present in large bureaucratic settings, indicating the journey is far from over and sustained efforts are required to reach the envisioned goal.
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