Martin Bink, after 12 years of civil service with the U.S. Army Research Institute, has joined UGA as the university’s first director of defense and security collaborations, housed within the Office of Research.
Bink started in his new role on July 1, and his mission is straightforward: Help lay the groundwork and forge the connections that will make UGA more competitive in securing research funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, other related agencies such as NASA, and the major private contractors that serve those agencies. UGA is looking to grow participation in research areas that intersect the interests of defense, security and space.
“Defense agencies are interested in more than just weapon systems,” said Bink, who earned his Ph.D. in psychology from UGA in 1999. “They provide significant funding for public purpose research. For example, DoD is one of the largest funders of breast cancer research.
“The thing I want to communicate to UGA faculty is: DoD funds basic research, and a lot of the research that goes on in this space is not about weaponry or warfighting,” he continued. “They want brand-new ideas, brand-new innovation, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the defense application stage.”
Currently UGA has relatively little research involvement with defense-related agencies. According to Bink’s analysis, the university has under 40 active research projects in the defense and security space, totaling about $5.6 million in total contract value. About half of those awards are direct to UGA, with the rest coming through subcontracts, and the average award value is $144,000.
“UGA’s research enterprise is expanding quickly, and we have several areas of strength that fit quite well with the kinds of technologies and innovations that our nation is looking for,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “I welcome Dr. Marty Bink to the university, and I’m eager to see the relationships he’ll develop with our faculty and the inroads he’ll make with these federal agencies and civilian contractors.”
Bink’s position is jointly funded by the Office of Research and the College of Engineering, with the expectation that he will spend roughly half his time working with faculty across the university.
“We are excited to have Dr. Bink join us and work with our faculty to create new federal funding opportunities for UGA,” said Donald Leo, dean of the College of Engineering and UGA Foundation Professor in Engineering.