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.
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 members include executive representatives from FLMAs, including:
- Co-chairs: a permanent FLH Headquarters representative and a rotating FLMA executive representative
- Membership includes representatives from:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Department of the Interior
- Federal Lands Highway
- National Park Service
- The Presidio Trust
- Surface Deployment and Distribution Command
- Tribal Transportation Coordinating Committee
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- U.S. Forest Service
- Tribal representatives are invited to participate:
- One Tribal member of the Tribal Transportation Program Coordinating Committee (TTPCC) and nominated by the TTPCC or an FHWA Office of Tribal Transportation proxy
- One Tribal member with backing and support from a national or regional Tribal organization/committee
- One Tribal representative based on their research program/project experience and knowledge
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.