Adam Russell

Strategic Advisor

Adam has a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University and a D.Phil. in Social Anthropology from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has worked in national security for almost two decades across many areas including the social and behavioral sciences, trust and trustworthiness, human performance and psychophysiology, judgment and decision-making, experimental design, neurocognitive enhancement, agent-based modeling, forecasting, and artificial intelligence and machine learning. He has briefed senior levels of government as well as provided expertise to a variety of organizations across the US Government, industry, and internationally, including the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community, the National Academies, and the National Science Foundation.

  • Dr. Adam Russell is currently with UMD’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) and holds an adjunct faculty position in UMD's Department of Psychology.  Adam began his career in national security working on human performance and strategic competitions for various government organizations.  
  • After joining the government in 2009, he spent the next decade as a Program Manager at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) and then the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) - where he was known as the “DARPAnthropologist.”  
  • At IARPA and DARPA, Adam managed a large portfolio of high-risk, high-impact R&D programs focused on enhancing the USG's Human Domain capabilities to better understand, anticipate, and leverage human social behavior and variability, while improving scientific discovery, innovation, and reproducibility, especially in the social and behavioral sciences (e.g., Next Generation Social Science (NGS2), Collective Allostatic Load, Systematizing Confidence in Open Research and Evidence (SCORE), Ground Truth, How the Social Becomes the Biological, Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-solving (SHARP), Tools for Recognizing Useful Signals of Trustworthiness (TRUST), and ODNI and IARPA’s first public data analysis incentive “Challenge” competition, INSTINCT).   He also ran the TAILOR AI Exploration project at DARPA, seeking to teach AI how to reason “counterfactually.”  
  • Most recently, Adam was selected by the Secretary of HHS to stand up the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), where he served as the Acting Deputy Director prior to the arrival of the inaugural director.   
  • He returned to UMD to lead its Collective Intelligence mission area, dedicated to enhancing leadership and organizational decision-making as well as improving organizational culture and processes. 

Adam has played rugby.  A lot.  And he’s still not sure how that happened. He started at Duke University, and then managed to play for Oxford University as well as for the New York Athletic Club team that won the 2005 USA Rugby national championship.  He earned his “caps” by playing for the US Men's National Rugby Team in their 2007 Rugby World Cup qualification matches. 

  • Adam was the High-Performance Director for the US Women's National Rugby Team for the 2014 and 2017 Rugby World Cups, and currently serves as the Head Sport Scientist for the Athlete Collective.  He has provided performance and nutrition consulting services for numerous organizations, individuals, and sports teams, including the Detroit Tigers, USA Rugby, and the Brooklyn Nets. 
  • He has also had several of his poems published, but doesn’t talk a lot about that for obvious reasons.