The Navy Tech Bridge activity for the northeast is coordinated at NUWC Division Newport by 401 Tech Bridge director Dr. Steven V. Bordonaro. Its focus areas are ocean sciences, including maritime composites and textiles, undersea vehicles, undersea sensors, and undersea technologies.
Polaris Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a statewide nonprofit organization, is leading the 401 Tech Bridge, and is the Navy's partnership intermediary. The 401 Tech Bridge — one of the first to open in the country — is the nucleus of the Northeast Region Tech Bridge, establishing best practices for public/private partnerships that support and focus on the businesses and economies of the region. In this capacity, the 401 Tech Bridge has a goal of accelerating concept to prototype to commercial scale and is supported by the Office of Naval Research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) award program, the R.I. Innovation Campus, network matching grants and private funding.
As the Department of the Navy (DON) identified its need to manufacture at scale, the Rhode Island MEP was simultaneously pulling a group of stakeholders from industry and academia together to increase the capabilities of the state’s maritime manufacturing community. These initiatives, coupled with the State of Rhode Island's multi-million-dollar investment in local innovation centers, culminated in very fertile ground for collaboration on Navy challenges.
Through Polaris MEP, NUWC Division Newport is now teaming with the University of Rhode Island (URI), the Composites Alliance of Rhode Island and the R.I. Textile Innovation Network to reach out to businesses and educational institutions. This allows for the opportunity to conduct cooperative research and development to solve Navy problems with small business innovation, as well as solve commercial problems with warfare center inventions.
The now 15 Tech Bridges across the United States and United Kingdom resulted from the creation of NavalX, which was formally announced in February 2019, as a direct-report initiative under the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN RDA). NavalX serves as the DON workforce "super-connector," focused on scaling non-traditional agility methods across the DON workforce.
For more information on NavalX or Tech Bridges, go to: www.secnav.navy.mil/agility or https://www.secnav.navy.mil/agility/Pages/techbridges.aspx.