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For more than 80 years, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has provided critical contributions to critical challenges with systems engineering and integration, technology research and development, and analysis. Our scientists, engineers, and analysts serve as trusted advisors and technical experts to the government, ensuring the reliability of complex technologies that safeguard our nation’s security and advance the frontiers of space. We also maintain independent research and development programs that pioneer and explore emerging technologies and concepts to address future national priorities.

APL: The Nation’s Largest University Affiliated Research Center

University affiliated research centers are independent, not-for-profit organizations that conduct essential research, development, and systems engineering to support national security needs. The centers serve strategic national priorities, free from conflicts of interest or competition with commercial industry. Collaboration with leading research universities allows these organizations to provide the U.S. government with access to our nation’s most highly skilled scientists, engineers, and analysts to tackle vital national security and scientific challenges.

Our Work

Founded in 1942 to aid a country at war, we provide solutions to national security and scientific challenges with systems engineering and integration, research and development, and analysis. Throughout our eight decades of service, we have focused on practical applications of our research in a wide range of scientific and technological fields; today, our four main sponsored areas of work include air and missile defense, asymmetric operations, force projection, and space science. Additionally, we continue to honor our enduring commitment to work with and inspire future generations of scientists, engineers, and researchers.

APL at a Glance


8,000 (80% technical professional)


Between Baltimore and Washington, DC, near I-95


~461 acres with more than 20 major buildings, plus a nearby satellite campus


Diversified portfolio of more than 600 programs, primarily Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and National Security Agency sponsors, as well as research and development

APL Celebrates 80 Years of

Game-Changing Impact

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80th anniversary