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Innovation and Research Council (IRC)

What is the IRC?

On June 1, 2021, the Innovation and Research Council (IRC) became a chartered organization that brings 11 Federal Land Management Agency (FLMA) partners together to actively participate in deployment activities and discussions, and to disperse innovation and research funding from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). The IRC selects innovation and research projects that address FLMA constituents needs, meet the backlog of infrastructure deficiencies and asset management stabilization, and propel emerging mobility into practice. The IRC is currently co-chaired by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Federal Lands Highway (FLH) and the National Park Service (NPS). FHWA Program Offices (e.g., Infrastructure, Safety, Operations, Environment) provide technical assistance through the IRC to the FLMA Partners.

IRC Meetings

The IRC meets twice per year at a minimum for the benefit of its Executive members. iHUD and rHUD members are invited to observe IRC meetings. FLH staff develop and manage IRC meeting agendas.

Review the IRC Charter.

IRC Research Funding

The IRC bi-annually funds research projects that react to the urgent and visionary needs of the FLMAs. Visit the IRC Research Program Application and Process page for information about the IRC Research Funding application process and timeline.

IRC Membership

IRC members include executive representatives from FLMAs, including:

IRC Working Committees: iHUD and rHUD

The IRC is supported by two working committees: the a) Innovation and b) Research Heightened Utility and Deployment (HUDs). Known as the iHUD and rHUD, they are forums where ideas can be shared for the benefit of the greater good, where conversations can continue on the topics of emerging needs and cross-agency solutions, and where research problem statements can be vetted and follow-up actions are communicated. 

The iHUD is a staff-level working committee that supports the innovation visions of the IRC. The iHUD has a grassroots approach for communication, idea collection, and technology transfer amongst peers. The iHUD pulls together innovators from across FLH and the IRC to discuss, vet, and share successes, challenges, and current activities. A major role of the iHUD is to discern which innovations require pursuit for the greater good of all IRC agency members

The rHUD is a staff-level working committee that supports the IRC’s Bi-Annual Research Program. The rHUD pulls together research and researchers from across IRC member agencies, FLH (via Discipline Champions), and FHWA RD&T. Its role is to provide feedback; share experiences, statuses, successes, and challenges; and promote technology transfer of completed research. The rHUD reviews and provides input on future research proposals, assists with the deployment of completed research, and conveys the knowledge of subject matter experts across multiple Federal agencies.

Updated: Tuesday, September 26, 2023