The U.S. Navy is teaming up with the University of Rhode Island and the University of Connecticut to provide a new opportunity for engineering undergraduates considering careers in the Navy and undersea engineering.
The universities have won a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop programs aimed at expanding the Navy science and technology workforce.
Southern New England – in particular, Rhode Island and Connecticut – is a critical region for the Navy. The area is the primary supplier of naval submarines and has some 600 firms that provide parts for the submarine fleet.
The region is also home to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, in Newport, as well as Raytheon, in Portsmouth, and Electric Boat, in Groton, Connecticut, where a dramatic increase in hiring is expected.
The universities will offer students classes featuring guest speakers from local navy contractors and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Students will also conduct navy-based undergraduate research and design projects involving new navy technologies and mentors from the navy will be encouraged.
Students will also be asked to join Navy-related academic, social and professional development activities. Workshops, seminars and networking events will be held regularly, with the two campuses sharing speakers and co-sponsoring talks. The program also involves outreach to community college and high school students.
Last month, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. David J. Hahn publicly unveiled the new strategic direction for the U.S. Navy’s continuum of research and development. The strategy prioritizes: the augmented warfighter, integrated and distributed forces, operational endurance, sensing and sense-making and scalable lethality.
“We have a great opportunity to supercharge the engine of naval research,” said Hahn. “From discovery to deployment, innovative U.S. naval technology has been essential to mission success. We’re going to ensure that continues.”
Senior naval leaders see the new Framework as a way to bring together in new ways all the central players in naval research, including government labs, academia and industry.