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Who We Are

The Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL, Est. May 1, 1968, Gen. Order #17) develops and infuses innovative technologies to provide excellent facilities and realistic training lands for the Department of Defense (DOD). Products and services from CERL research enhance the Army’s ability to design, build, operate and maintain its installations and contingency bases and to ensure environmental quality at the lowest life-cycle cost. Excellent facilities support the Army’s training, readiness, mobilization and sustainability missions. An adequate infrastructure and realistic training lands are critical assets to installations in carrying out their military mission.

Efficient contingency bases, which minimize the use of external resources and the generation of waste, and enhance relations with local communities, are critical for successful deployments in all situations – from disaster response and humanitarian assistance to stability operations and conflicts.

CERL researchers work in collaboration with other ERDC labs and with partners in government, industry and academia. This helps CERL develop technologies for the Army’s current and future force while also benefitting the private and public sectors where no similar applications and capabilities exist. While the CERL program centers on military installations, contingency bases, and sustainable ranges and lands, additional focus areas include enhancing socio-cultural understanding in theater operations and improving civil works facilities and infrastructure.

Specific focus areas for CERL:

  1. Sustainable Installations
  2. Military Ranges and Lands
  3. Resilient Facilities and Infrastructure
  4. Smart Sustainable Materials
  5. Installation Decision Support
  6. Urban and Stability Operations


As the owner of about 1 billion square feet of buildings, the Army must ensure that its facilities are cost-effective, durable, environmentally sustainable and flexible enough to support changing missions. Army facilities must provide quality living, working and training environments for Soldiers and their families. CERL research in military installations focuses on design, materials and delivery of facilities as well as improving the efficiency of business practices and operations, maintenance and repair. These improvements will be achieved by using innovative technologies, expanding automation and streamlining business processes.

DOD uses over 25 million acres of land plus extensive areas of sea and air space in support of military training and testing missions. However, resource degradation and environmental constraints within the fence line and developmental pressures surrounding installations combine to compromise and limit training and testing activities on military lands. CERL research capabilities provide tools for the long-term sustainment of training ranges and lands critical to military readiness. CERL research in sustainable ranges and lands has two goals: provide knowledge, tools and improved practices to support sustained military use of lands, seas and airspace; and support military stewardship of natural and cultural resources on these lands. CERL research enhances and expands understanding of the impacts training and testing activities have on resources.


To meet its research challenges, CERL has state-of-the-art test facilities that include: Triaxial Earthquake and Shock Simulator; Paint Technology Center; Controlled Archeological Test Site; Environmental Processes Laboratory; Microbiology Laboratory; Structural Load Floor; Air Pollution Laboratory; Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell with Electrolyzer; Environmental Chemistry Laboratory; Chem-Bio Laboratory; Materials Laboratory; Center for the Advancement of Sustainability Innovations (CASI); and Synthetic Biology Laboratory; ERDC Forward Operating Base Laboratory; Army Facilities Corrosion Prevention and Control Project Management.

CERL opened in 1969 in Champaign, Ill., to be collocated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and capitalize on UIUC’s renowned science and engineering programs, experts and facilities. CERL and UIUC collaborate on critical research for DOD under an Educational Partnership Agreement.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Engineer Research & Development Center
Construction Engineering Research Laboratory
P.O. Box 9005
2902 Newmark Drive
Champaign, IL 61826-9005