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NEWS | Dec. 11, 2020

NRL’s Ocean Sciences Division Connects Research with Industry and Academia

By Kevin McAndrews, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Corporate Communications

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Ocean Sciences Division at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, has joined a broader Navy effort to connect scientific discovery with civilian industry and universities across the nation and beyond.

NRL joins the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, and the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, to form the new Gulf Coast Tech Bridge, which spans four states—Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

“Developing new partnerships with industry and academia will accelerate the transition of our science and technology for the benefit of the Navy, Marine Corps and the public,” said research physicist Joe Calantoni of the Ocean Sciences Division. “We are excited about the long-term potential of this new venture.” 

The Tech Bridge is focused on the future, growing coastal science and unmanned vehicle development, hosting industry events and expanding strategic partnerships. The Gulf Coast Tech Bridge’s focus areas are: coastal sciences and technology, assured maritime access and operational meteorology and oceanography. 

“We want to enable our scientists and engineers to transform their discoveries into commercial products,” Calantoni said.

NRL’s Ocean Sciences Division conducts research in ocean physics, coastal remote sensing, coastal and seafloor sciences, and geospatial sciences. Researchers work to understand the complex interactions between the ocean and atmosphere through a combination of sensing and simulation.

Since the establishment last year of Tech Bridges under a Navy program called NavalX, the initiative has harnessed collaboration and creativity to address naval concerns and capabilities.

NavalX serves as the Department of Navy’s research, development, and technology "super-connector" focused on delivering and facilitating rapid implementation of proven technology with high impact and broad applicability. Over the past year, NavalX has expanded the number of Tech Bridges to 15 across the United States and the United Kingdom.
Partnering with the Office of Naval Research and the Navy’s Systems Commands, NavalX Tech Bridges connect, reinforce, and sustain regional innovation ecosystems in locations across the Navy. This enables collaboration with non-traditional partners, and develop partnerships that strengthen the Navy’s operational capability.

Each Tech Bridge is supported by NavalX to seed early efforts until the Tech Bridge can stand alone with local partners. Current Tech Bridges are in the early stages of pilot projects designed to solve complex technological problems across the Navy.

Notable successes in the past year include funding $45 million in projects to solve naval problems; awarding more than $2 million in prize challenges to industry partners; sponsoring $37.5 million in Small Business Innovation Research targeting maintenance and sustainment; and helping to distribute over $800,000 to COVID-19 response efforts. 

About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory 

NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 2,500 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.

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