WEST BETHESDA, Md. —
Academic representatives from 21 universities met with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division and Office of Naval Research (ONR) employees in West Bethesda, Maryland, for the Carderock Academic Outreach event June 8.
The intent of the event was to enhance collaboration among these representatives – including professors, college officials, interns and students – and members of the Naval Research & Development Establishment, according to Dr. John Barkyoumb, Carderock’s director of strategic relations.
“We are discussing both the mechanisms by which we collaborate and finding where the barriers exist and what we can do to overcome them,” Barkyoumb said. “The goal would be closer collaboration that speeds the transition of our technology and technology from the universities to the fleet and warfighter.”
The event began with Carderock Division Technical Director Dr. Tim Arcano talking to the representatives in the Maritime Information Technology Center about doing that by creating new relationships and strengthening existing ones. Jack Templeton, chief technology officer at Carderock, then presented a division overview of Carderock Division, including its mission, location, personnel, command structure and funding.
“When you reach into any of these laboratories, you’re reaching into a greater community of laboratories,” Templeton said. “Carderock is one of 10 naval surface and undersea warfare centers; it’s part of a greater Naval Research & Development Establishment. At Carderock specifically, we are Navy mobility systems and the integration of the platforms and payload that will deliver an asset to the fleet. Our vision is to be the trusted partner for the Navy to realize that goal.”
Dr. Walter Jones, executive director of ONR, followed with the keynote speech, giving a similar breakdown of ONR. After these speeches, representatives separated for parallel technical sessions, and then tours of Carderock, including the David Taylor Model Basin and the Manufacturing, Knowledge and Education (MAKE) Lab. Dr. Larry Schuette, the director of research at ONR, spoke to the academics on how to work with ONR while in collaboration with the Naval Research & Developemtn Establishment. These were followed by a brief on doing business with Carderock, explaining contracting, human resources and other logistical concerns, and finally, a discussion on models for partnership between academia and Carderock with Barkyoumb.
“In a lot of these cases, these university professors want to work with us,” Barkyoumb said. “They see some mutual research. Then when they start, they don’t know that there are programs they can work in that will help that research get done and maybe even provide money or structure to do it. When they start doing it, we may find agreements that we don’t have in place, like cooperative research and development agreements, that after hearing this, they may know to approach someone like me or Dr. Joe Teter (Carderock Division Technology Transfer Office director) to ask about how to enter one of these agreements.”
The day concluded with another round of breakout sessions, this one focused on models for collaboration and facilitated by Carderock’s human-centered design team. Participants split up to brainstorm and write ideas on sticky notes about current and future technology and Navy-academia collaborations, classify those ideas and then regroup and report their findings. Nathan Hagan, a naval architect with the Structural Criteria and Risk Assessment Branch (Code 654) who led one of the sessions, said this provided an interactive activity and opened up dialogue between the Carderock and academic sides.
“The purpose of human-centered design is to solicit information from a user base in a very organic fashion, and then from that, associate it and make connections so you are able to identify bigger trends and things that might shape decisions,” Hagan said. “All of the data that was collected during those exercises will be utilized by Dr. Barkyoumb and the command in making recommendations for how to proceed, whether it be improving existing collaboration processes or adding a new one that doesn’t exist yet.”
Dr. Matt Wolfe, a scientist and leader of the Futures team at Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (a not-for-profit liaison for Virginia Tech), was visiting Carderock for the first time after his company heard about the event from one of their government partners. He said he enjoyed touring Carderock and that the event provided both exposure to the breadth of work done there and ample networking opportunities.
“The Navy, like most government institutions, cannot possibly work in isolation due to funding, efficiency and bureaucratic challenges,” said Wolfe, who earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. “Partnering with academia can yield large gains from modest investments in funding, publications, new ideas and technology development. Each party stands to gain, because the one thing that Navy and academic researchers have in common is their academic training.”
Barkyoumb said the interaction and exchange of ideas between Carderock’s employees and the academics made the event a success.