Question: And Carl, what are the operational and strategic challenges the Center is currently faced with?
Carl Jackson: On an operational level, one of the main challenges is that we handle a broad range of materials with challenging physical properties. Some are highly toxic or corrosive and we often process multiple materials at the same time. This requires significant gas handling expertise by our team. On a strategic level, we need to ensure we are developing products that our customers will need in roughly two to three years. We do not have unlimited resources and budgets, so selecting and prioritizing projects in close cooperation with customers is crucial.
Question: Shortly after it was founded, the Center entered into a research partnership with the Industry Technology Research Institute (ITRI). What are the results from this cooperation?
Carl Jackson: We have multiple projects with our partners at ITRI, mainly focused on developing advanced analytical methods. The cooperation works for both. Sometimes, we provide a service to ITRI in areas where we have better capabilities, for example, in analysing corrosive or toxic gases. Where their capabilities exceed ours, we conduct some of our work at ITRI.
Question: How do you ensure the Center’s research remains cutting edge?
Carl Jackson: There are two key points to that. ERDC has a powerful customer application team whose members work closely with customers to understand their needs, ideally before they even know they have them. Second, we have highly skilled researchers as well as state of the art equipment to execute our development projects as efficiently as possible.