Northeastern expands security research with Arlington, Va. campus


Photo courtesy Creative Commons

Nick Hirano, news staff

Northeastern is launching a new research campus in Arlington, Virginia, a Washington, D.C. suburb home to the Pentagon and numerous federal agencies.

Announced at a Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday, the new campus will allow the university to build closer relationships with government research sponsors, said outgoing Provost James C. Bean.

“It is a campus that primarily concentrates on security research that the funding agency needs to be able to visit,” Bean said. 

In 2019, NU received an all-time high of $178.8 million in research support, more than 80 percent of which came from the federal government. The Department of Defense, headquartered in Arlington, contributed $34 million. 

The university has long sought to expand its portfolio of security and resilience work, anchored by its Innovation Campus at Burlington, Massachusetts, or ICBM. 

Home to the Army Research Lab Northeast, ICBM has grown from $250,000 to $40 million in funding in the past four years, Bean said. The center includes a secure environment for classified government research and hosts a mock airport security checkpoint to improve TSA screening, among other projects.

In Arlington, NU’s new outpost opens as the region’s tech industry — a longtime hub for cybersecurity — accelerates with the arrival of Amazon’s second headquarters. Virginia Tech plans to launch its own innovation campus in nearby Alexandria, backed by $1 billion from the state and private sources.

“[Arlington] is an outgrowth of our Burlington successes,” Bean told the Faculty Senate. “It’s a small and growing campus that we’ll have in that area, already with a substantial amount of funding.”