Benjamin Knott named ARLIS director of research

Benjamin Knott has been named Director of Research for UMD’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security.

Knott has 27 years of experience working at the intersection of cognitive science, human-machine teaming, and the social sciences. He has written more than 80 publications and holds more than 65 U.S. patents. He has a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the Catholic University of America.

“Dr. Knott’s decision to join ARLIS is testimony to the lab’s credibility and all that our team of researchers has built over the last few short years,” said ARLIS Executive Director William Regli. “Dr. Knott has exactly the right experience and background to help lead ARLIS to the next level of interdisciplinary applied research.”

Most recently, Knott spent seven years leading basic research as a program manager for the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. For the past two years he has been detailed at the Pentagon to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering. Previously, he also completed a three-year tour with the U.S. Office of Naval Research Global in the Tokyo, Japan office.

In his Pentagon role, he advised on requirements and S&T gaps, working with leadership to plan, program and budget for an annual $550 million basic research portfolio across all Air Force-relevant priorities including social science, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, hypersonics, quantum computing and more.

“I decided to join ARLIS because the organization has assembled an incredibly talented interdisciplinary team, focused on some of the most urgent national security problems of our generation,” Knott said.

Knott will initially focus on measures to support and increase interdisciplinary collaboration and communication within and outside ARLIS. He plans to work with ARLIS’ technical leadership team to develop a strategic science and technology research plan to bring a “laser focus” to the lab’s work and increase value to ARLIS’ sponsors.

Director Regli noted ARLIS has become a trusted agent for the government, as evidenced by its diversified sponsor base and portfolio since it was first established in 2018 as a Department of Defense University-Affiliated Research Center (UARC). He said Knott’s research leadership will help grow the lab’s contributions in the areas of human-AI teaming, human performance augmentation, and understanding impacts of mis/disinformation and foreign influence campaigns on society and national security.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the direction of the only UARC designed to address challenges in the human domain, a space that will be critical to the ongoing great power competition,” Knott said. “The UARC has the potential to play a pivotal role in the future of national security and democracy.”

--This story originally published on the ARLIS website.

Published June 15, 2023