Timothy Marler

Timothy Marler
Senior Research Engineer; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, University of Iowa; M.S. in mechanical engineering, Penn State University; B.S. in mechanical engineering, University of Rochester

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Timothy Marler is a senior research engineer at RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His work revolves around emerging technology and science-and-technology policy, with a focus on multi-objective optimization, human modeling and simulation, advanced training technology, virtual reality/augmented reality, machine learning, biotechnology, and human-centered design.

Over his career, Marler has lead projects and programs involving technology assessment, forecasting, and deployment; mathematical algorithm analysis and development; training simulators; system integration software for electromechanical systems; and computational models for optimization-based equipment distribution, injury prevention, human performance prediction, and motion capture. He is particularly interested in growing programs based on interrelated projects, often centered on software development.

Marler is a cofounder and colead for the RAND Biological Technologies' Emerging Challenges (BioTEC) Group and the RAND Health Biotechnology and Bioeconomy Strategy Group. He leads the VR/AR thrust for RAND's Tech + Narrative Lab. He currently serves on the Department of Commerce's Materials and Equipment Technical Advisory Committee within the Bureau of Industry and Security. 

Previously, Marler was the assistant director of the Virtual Soldier Research lab, codirector of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology lab, and an adjunct professor with the departments of biomedical engineering, mechanical and industrial engineering, and electrical and computer engineering, at the University of Iowa. Additional experience ranges from software design to manufacturing, at Ford Motor Company, Amana, Pacific Northwest National Lab, and Hon. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa.

Recent Projects

  • AI at The Helm of a Species Evolution, Exploring Policy Considerations at the Intersection of AI and Biotechnology
  • Training Technology Roadmap for Homeland Security
  • Strategy and Process to Improve Army-Wide Modeling and Simulation
  • Live, Virtual, and Constructive Systems for Space Force Training and Readiness
  • Tools and Support for Human Systems Integration with The Future Vertical Lift Demonstrations

Selected Publications

T. Marler, D. Young, "The Pragmatic Road to a Ph.D.," Times Higher Education, 2018

M. Bataineh, T. Marler, "Neural Network for Regression Problems with Reduced Training Sets," Neural Networks, 2017

M. Bataineh, T. Marler, "Neural Networks for Large-Scale Problems, with Application to Human Motion," Journal of Computer Science Technology Updates, 2016

T. Marler, N. Capdevila, J. Kersten, A. Taylor, S. Wanger, J. MacKiewicz, "Human Simulation for Task-Based Survivability Analysis," International Journal of Human Factors Modelling and Simulation, 2016

T. Marler, J. Arora, Multi-Objective Optimization: Concepts and Methods for Engineering, VDM Verlag, 2009


  • Biotechnology

    Brain and Machine Confluence Requires Multi-Sectoral Regulation to Maximize Gains

    As the commercialization of brain-computer interface technology expands, it would be prudent for international policymakers to consider how this technology should be regulated, in order to reap its benefits and minimize its risks.

    Feb 15, 2023

    Inside Sources

  • Military Education and Training

    Unlocking Training Technology for Multi-Domain Operations

    Multi-domain operations (MDO) can present many challenges for training. Involvement of various disparate organizations and services can exacerbate these challenges and can require balancing centralized coordination with decentralized training objectives. If MDO is to provide new benefits, the training community may need to solve old problems. It may need to communicate more effectively.

    Jan 24, 2023

    Dubai International Air Chiefs' Association

  • Military Tactics

    Ukraine's Lessons for the Future of Hybrid Warfare

    A new decision-analysis approach is necessary to capture the use of disinformation in the context of hybrid warfare. Multiple tools must be integrated to help generate a robust policy response to modern hybrid threats.

    Nov 28, 2022

    The National Interest

  • Biotechnology

    Biotechnology and Today's Warfighter

    Biotechnology has a broad and often misunderstood scope, one with significant implications for today's warfighter, and it may be reaching a critical junction. As it continues to mature, proactive policy becomes necessary for the federal government to leverage emerging capabilities effectively and remain competitive.

    Oct 25, 2022

    Defense Dossier

  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

    Embracing Intrinsic Cultural Advantages in Innovation

    The United States has long enjoyed the benefits of novel technology, but it could lose ground soon as other countries advance. Could it be time for the United States to embrace the advantages in innovation that it holds relative to near-peers like China?

    Jul 15, 2022


  • Emerging Technologies

    The Metaverse: What It Is and Is Not

    The metaverse is quickly expanding, but its meaning remains unclear. Until an agreement on a definition of “metaverse” is reached, efforts to manage the technology development and related public policy could be muddled at best.

    Jun 20, 2022

    Inside Sources

  • Military Technology

    Beware the Allure of Training Technology

    In addition to focusing on acquiring technology that helps retain a competitive advantage, the U.S. Department of Defense could also focus on codifying processes that align technology with user needs and that adapt as technology, military operations, and needs change. Considering context when planning the development and use of training technology could be crucial.

    May 18, 2022

    Defense News

  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

    The Bright Appeal of New Tech May Overshadow Practical Business

    Law enforcement departments are increasingly considering using augmented reality and virtual reality for training. How can the AR/VR industry be incentivized to ensure that content responds to user needs and is accessible?

    Aug 24, 2021

    Inside Sources

  • Emerging Technologies

    China Is Organizing the VR Industry. The United States Could Do the Same

    Given the potential value of virtual reality as a tool—and the increasing competition from China—the United States could focus more energy on advancing VR in a coordinated fashion. Otherwise, America risks missing an opportunity to excel internationally with a valuable and broadly applicable emerging technology.

    Aug 23, 2021

    The National Interest

  • Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

    Now Could Be the Time to Form Policy for Emerging Brain- and Body-Enhancement Technologies

    Policymakers might consider developing appropriate policy frameworks for emerging brain- and body-enhancement technologies to ensure that innovations harnessed for societal, economic, or military benefits do not create new vulnerabilities and that governments adequately defend and manage against potential attacks. The technology is quickly moving forward. Policy may need to play catch-up.

    Jan 12, 2021


  • Bioethics

    Biology, in the Language of the People

    As technology and the ability to gather ever-growing amounts of data move further into the realms of biology and human performance, communication and transparency become increasingly important. Experts should consider whether they are using the words, examples, and models that connect with a broad audience most effectively.

    Feb 21, 2019

    Annals of Biostatistics & Biometric Applications

  • Decisionmaking

    The American Intellectual Property

    In a continued search for competitive advantage, the United States may be asking the wrong question. Perhaps the question should be, how to most effectively cultivate what is inherent in Americans.

    Dec 19, 2017