Established in 1979, ARL supports and promotes interdisciplinary collaborations that initiate new research and educational programs of high priority to the scientific community. This cross-fertilization between disciplines has created new projects, collaborations, and educational opportunities (e.g., establishment of the Biomedical Engineering Program, Center for Insect Science, Divisions of Neurobiology and of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging, and Institute for the Study of Planet Earth). The very success of these programs and other programs in ARL is a direct result of providing opportunities for research active faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students (undergraduate and graduate) to develop intellectual and scientific growth.
The enormous expansion of interdisciplinary programs reflects the growing awareness that the most urgent and significant problems faced by our society and the most exciting research at the frontiers of science cannot be successfully addressed from the perspectives of a single traditional discipline. Critical scientific engineering and societal problems are necessarily complex, and a mixture of disciplines is needed for their study. The establishment of effective interdisciplinary programs is mandated if a university wishes to respond to society's needs. Such programs will contribute to participating academic units by attracting outstanding students and faculty and by providing exciting opportunities for graduate students in new areas of knowledge and new realms of research.
The ARL Research Core Services group provides investigators and students with state-of-the-art facilities necessary to carry out leading-edge biological, chemical, and engineering research. Core services specialize in providing high-end equipment that is difficult for individual investigators to afford and advanced technical assistance in the application of this equipment and other modern analytical methods. Besides simply making leading-edge technology available to the university community, the shared facilities bring investigators together toward common goals, thus facilitating inter-departmental, cooperative, multidisciplinary research projects. Finally, the core services facilitate the creation and development of research and analytical activities of other state agencies and of industrial clients.