HEROES Initiative at UMass Lowell



Harnessing Emerging Research Opportunities to Empower Soldiers (HEROES) is a joint research and development initiative of UMass Lowell and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC). Its aim is to tap the research assets - people and facilities -- of both organizations in order to improve the survivability and protection of U.S. troops.  Through synergistic interactions, both organizations anticipate to expand research and developmental efforts in emerging areas and provide better solutions for challenges U.S. warfighters face in the field. Research is underway to help troops lighten their pack loads, have more fire resistant uniforms and use parachutes that are easier and more safe to maneuver. NSRDEC's focus areas include
  • Airdrop and aerial delivery
  • Technologies for soldier protection
  • Combat feeding
  • Expeditionary basing
  • Human systems integration
UMass Lowell and NSRDEC formalized an already close collaboration by establishing HEREOS in early 2013. UMass Lowell committed roughly 5,000 square feet of office and lab space for use by NSRDEC scientists, so that they may more easily work side-by-side with UMass Lowell’s research teams. These visiting scientists work 2 to 3 days per week at UMass Lowell and may supervise research, and advise students and may also teach classes. 

NSRDEC offers UMass Lowell faculty access to their campus in Natick, which include laboratories and testing, design, engineering and fabrication facilities.


About 5,000 square feet in the basement of UMass Lowell’s Olney Hall is dedicated to the HEROES initiative. It includes wet chemistry, processing and characterization laboratories, offices, conference rooms and a “think tank” area outfitted with a continuous whiteboard on which researchers may brainstorm new ideas. In addition to this “home base” for NSRDEC scientists, they will also have access to labs of their research partners across campus, including those located in the $80 million Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center

U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center in Natick offers UMass Lowell faculty and student researchers access to their facilities, which include design, synthesis, engineering and testing laboratories and nano-fabrication facilities.