An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : Article View
NEWS | Feb. 23, 2024

NSWCPD Continues to Forge Alliances with University Partners, focusing on Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions Programs

By Gary Ell

Engineers from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) gathered with university partners at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Marriott on Feb. 6, 2024 during the third part of the University Day Series, hosted by the Liberty Tech Bridge, powered by NavalX.

During this third offering of the series, university partners and government employees learned more about methods to enable collaboration between Naval Warfare Centers and Academia by utilizing the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Naval Enterprise Partnership Teaming with Universities for National Excellence (NEPTUNE) and Navy Undersea Research Program (NURP), Department of Navy’s Historically Black Colleges And Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) Programs, and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).

The University Day Series program, launched in September 2023, with a second session held in January 2024, is designed to pursue active engagements with existing Educational Partnership Agreements (EPA) and create new relationships with local universities through new collaboration agreements. This initiative also aims to increase awareness of current technologies and research ongoing at universities that would be applicable for Navy capabilities, as well as create active networks for future initiatives and facilitate opportunities for engagement between NSWCPD and universities.

In addition to NSWCPD, attendees during the series included Rowan University, Drexel University, Villanova University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Army Armament Center, National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst, and Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific.

“The Tech Bridge mission is to facilitate strategic partnerships and foster activities between the U.S. Navy and industry, academia, as well as state and local governments in the region that accelerate the creativity and innovation that improve the capability, capacity, and readiness of the Navy. These events create touchpoints to build awareness, relationships, and trust that leads to successful collaboration,” NSWCPD Engineer and Liberty Tech Bridge Director Mike Lavery said to kick off the event.

HBCU/MI Program Office Deputy Director Maurice Civers-Davis provided an overview of its programming, noting that HBCU/MI program is designed to increase the participation of HBCU/MIs in the Navy's research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) programs and activities.

As part of its mission, the program strengthens the capabilities of the institutions to conduct basic and applied research, and increases the quality and quantity of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs with a focus on minority researchers and graduates.

“We have three program tenets: communicate, coordinate and collaborate. We communicate with events such as this. We want the academic community to know that we exist. Our goal is to collaborate and partner with universities and solve Navy challenges. Once we raise the awareness of our program then we coordinate together,” Civers-Davis said, mentioning the myriad of opportunities for both faculty and students, and then providing overviews of the following programs:
• Summer Faculty Research Program (SFRP)
• Sabbatical Leave Program (SLP)
• Faculty Startup Program in Materials Science and Engineering
• Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Internship Program
• Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) Cybersecurity / Information Assurance Program
• Naval Opportunity Awareness Workshop (OAW)
• Naval Sciences Awards Program (NSAP)
• Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Internship Program
• U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Internship Program
On behalf of the NRL, Senior Materials Research Engineer and Battery Team Lead of the Chemistry Division, Dr. Corey T. Love gave an overview of the ONR NEPTUNE and NURP.

“NEPTUNE aligns university research with the National Defense Strategy and establishes entrepreneurial practices to accelerate delivery of university-derived technologies and products to the defense and commercial sectors,” Love said.

According to the NRL website, each selected project will have at least one problem sponsor, and a research team consisting of University researchers and military or veteran students. NEPTUNE establishes long-term university and Navy's Naval Research and Development Establishment (NRDE) partnerships to evaluate the feasibility, viability, and desirability of university-derived technologies and products to meet DoN operational needs. Program participants engage in interdisciplinary research across multiple energy-related areas of study. This collaborative approach accelerates progress by identifying upstream or downstream roadblocks, and potential solutions in rapid timeframes.

“NURP in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, sponsors science and engineering graduate students pursuing thesis topics in core undersea weaponry technology areas,” Love said.

Also according to the NRL website, NURP is designed to attract more academically trained professionals into weapon/underwater vehicle-related research and thereby increase the knowledge base for undersea weapon and underwater vehicle technologies, ONR has created NURP to sponsor graduate-level research performed in collaboration with experienced personnel at Navy laboratories and University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs).

Participation of HBCU/MIs in the Navy's research, utilizing the ONR NEPTUNE and NURP, along with NSIN, NavalX and the Liberty Tech Bridge’s efforts, will help create future engagements, according to Lavery. The University Day series event has led to multiple engineers submitting problem statements and a collaboration between NSWCPD, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst and U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center.

“The momentum continues to head in the right direction for this ecosystem. Each event has created new opportunities with our partners,” Lavery said.

The next Liberty Tech Bridge event is a Shipboard Robotics Technical Exchange Meeting for Government, Industry and Academia on March 5, 2024. Visit for details.

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.