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NEWS | Sept. 21, 2021

NUWC Division Keyport hosts Naval Engineering Education Consortium technical exchange event

By Lonnie Collier Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport

NUWC Division Keyport hosted this year’s Naval Sea System Command Naval Engineering Education Consortium technical exchange meeting Sept. 7-8, at Vibe Coworks in Poulsbo, Washington.

The meeting is an annual event where college students present technical- and engineering-focused projects to Keyport leaders and managers.

“The NEEC program is one of several ways NAVSEA and its warfare centers find affordable innovative solutions to naval technology needs,” said Johannes Schonberg, Northwest Tech Bridge director. “These opportunities allow all 10 warfare centers to collaborate as they find innovative solutions and recruit new talent from the nation’s universities.”

The program connects expert researchers from academia to Keyport to form research partnerships.

“NEEC seeks to acquire academic research results and products to resolve the Navy’s technology challenges, while also hiring college graduates with naval engineering research and development experience into the NAVSEA workforce,” said Thai Tran, Keyport’s NEEC director. “This lets us develop and maintain exceptional working relationships with naval engineering colleges, universities, professors, and students.”

Schonberg coordinated the location to allow easier access for the student teams to meet, present, and network while visiting the Pacific Northwest. Keyport’s laboratory designation fosters key partnerships with local non-profit organizations that support improved engagement with industry, academia, and other non-profits, he added.

This year, participants included teams from:

  • South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Washington

Applying for a NEEC project involves each warfare center submitting an assortment of research topics based on their needs and budget during an annual data call.

The topics are published via a Broad Agency Announcement that enables universities to offer research proposals through NAVSEA.

NAVSEA sorts the bids by subject, filters through the most relevant ones, and circulates them to the warfare centers to manage accordingly.

The program is a great way to recruit talent while allowing the Navy to develop relationships with academic researchers, Tran said. In the past two years, Keyport was able to on-board 14 quality STEM employees from various schools.

NUWC Keyport provides technical leadership, engineering expertise, and unique facility complexes that serve to ensure sustainment of undersea warfare superiority for the United States. As one of two divisions of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Keyport’s mission is focused on developing and applying advanced technical capabilities to test, evaluate, field, and maintain undersea warfare systems and related defense assets. These advanced technical capabilities directly support the full spectrum of Navy undersea programs.

[Editor’s note: Thai Tran contributed to this story.]