The Department of Defense awarded a $500 million contract to the University of Maryland’s national security research facility, the largest research deal the university has received.

One of the 15 university-affiliated research centers within the department, the Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security is the only one dedicated to research and development in artificial intelligence, information engineering and human systems.

The center conducts applied research in technologies that “improve human performance,” such as advanced and emerging technologies, and languages, communication and culture, according to a university spokesperson.

The center is innovative and “uniquely qualified” to evolve capabilities in intelligence and security research areas, Milancy D. Harris, the acting under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, said in a statement. Darryll Pines, the university’s president, called the center a “jewel” among the institution’s “research enterprise,” adding that the facility has yielded opportunities for faculty and students.

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“We’re excited to build upon ARLIS’ demonstrated success of combining technical expertise with human understanding to bolster our nation’s security,” Pines said.

The research center is one of the fastest-growing units at the university, according to its 2023 annual report, seeing a growth of 19% in research expenditures by the end of last year.

The center is working with the government to find new technologies and approaches that will modernize the government’s process for classifying and declassifying documents, according to a spokesperson.

Last year, the under secretary of defense for intelligence and security asked the center to review and analyze the “current state of credibility assessment technology, tools, and techniques” within the department for the National Center for Credibility Assessment. The project is scheduled to run through 2024.

Established in 2018, the center was created with the focus on “how humans and machines working together can provide socio-technical solutions critical to national security and democracy,” according to its 2023 annual report.