Carbajal Announces $5 Million for Cal Poly Partnership with Air Force Research Laboratory for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Technology

Santa Barbara, CA – Representative Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Representative Norma J. Torres (CA-35), and Representative Grace Napolitano (CA-32) have announced $10 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.R. 133) will be directed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona to fund an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Cal Polys and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

“Military-educational partnerships like the one between the Air Force and Cal Poly enhance our national security capabilities and provide Cal Poly students with hands-on learning opportunities that set them up for successful STEM careers when they graduate,” Rep. Carbajal said. “The Air Force is looking to develop cutting-edge technology and I have no doubt that Cal Poly’s students and professors can deliver. I look forward to seeing how these funds will be used to make Americans safer and the next generation of leaders more prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.”

Funds will be used to develop key technologies to accelerate the AFRL’s strategic capabilities in secured unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will receive half, $5 million, allowing engineering students to conduct cutting-edge research on a modified general aviation airplane that will act as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

 “As a result of this support, our students will have a unique opportunity to work with the latest UAV technologies,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “This will enhance Cal Poly’s reputation for innovation while also providing students opportunities to perform relevant, real-world research with industry.”

“We’re excited that our elected officials and the Air Force Research Lab recognize and acknowledge the incredible things our students and faculty do,” said Amy S. Fleischer, Dean of the Cal Poly College of Engineering. “While this funding will benefit Cal Poly, the work that is done with the money will ultimately advance society.”

This is the second allocation of federal funding for EPA’s between California Polytechnic State Universities and the Air Force Research Laboratory in under a year. In June of 2020, the lawmakers announced $5 million in funding for an Agreement to encourage and enhance the Air Force’s strategic capabilities in space operations through next generation access to space and maneuverability.

Educational partnerships are formal agreements between a defense laboratory and an educational institution for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing study in scientific disciplines at all levels of education. In establishing EPA’s, the Secretary of Defense gives priority to educational institutions serving women, members of minority groups, and other groups of individuals who traditionally underrepresented in engineering and science profession.

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.


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