NEEC Program Brings Research to NUWC Division, Keyport

Story Number: NNS190822-09Release Date: 8/22/2019 3:16:00 PM
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By Nathanael Miller, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport Public Affairs

KEYPORT, Wa. (NNS) -- The Naval Sea System Command (NAVSEA)’s Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) program brings talented researchers from the world of academia into research partnerships with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport.

NAVSEA created the NEEC program to employ project-based research projects at colleges and universities targeting the naval technology needs, while also giving all ten NAVSEA Warfare Centers a chance to enhance their workforces by recruiting world-class talent from the nation’s universities.

Thai Tran, NUWC Division, Keyport’s NEEC director, said the program is a great way to both recruit new talent while letting the Navy develop relationships with researchers in the academic world.

“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 (R&D) experience into the NAVSEA workforce,” said Tran.  “This lets us develop and maintain some exceptional working relationships with university faculties, professors and students.”

NUWC Division, Keyport provides mentors from within its engineering departments.  These mentors partner with the student and the student’s academic advisors at the university to research and develop solutions to pressing Navy needs.

Tran said the process to apply for a NEEC project involves each individual Warfare Center defining the topics they want addressed and submitting those topics during a data call.

“Each command submits research topics depending on their needs and budget at an annual data call,” Tran said.  “These topics are posted via a Broad Agency Announcement, allowing universities to submit proposals for research.  The proposals are managed through WC headquarters and distributed to the warfare centers for evaluation according to associated topic and if the proposals are deemed worthy for the selected projects.”

Tran said he believes the NEEC program benefits NUWC Division, Keyport, by allowing the command access to some of the nation’s best universities.

“NEEC allows us to have access to top-notch researchers who can address challenging technical problems and allows our mentors here and their co-researchers at the university to share ideas, processes and techniques.  These can then be applied to the Navy’s technology needs,” said Tran.

The program also allows Warfare Centers to reach out to schools they do not currently have formal partnerships with.  For example, NUWC Division, Keyport has NEEC partnerships with the University of Washington, Perdue and the University of New Hampshire, but not one with Washington State University this year.  By collaborating with other Warfare Centers, Tran said NUWC Division, Keyport can gain access to the findings of any NEEC work being done at Washington State University even as NUWC Division, Keyport shares the results of its partnerships across NAVSEA.

Melissa Berry, NUWC Division, Keyport’s head of recruitment and outreach, said the NEEC program is not only critical for solving naval technology problems, but is also an important tool in recruiting talented people to the NAVSEA workforce.  This goal is driven by the NAVSEA strategic vision, known as Campaign Plan 2.0.  Campaign Plan 2.0 seeks to continually find innovative ways to improve the warfighting capability of ships and systems while ensuring its workforce is properly equipped and empowered to do their jobs.  Bringing fresh talent into the NAVSEA team furthers those goals.

“The NEEC program provides NUWC Division, Keyport the opportunity to capitalize on the experiences gained by the participating students through naval research and education,” said Barry.  “These experiences are beneficial in creating a pipeline of candidates with vital skills which enable them to prepare for their career upon graduation.”

Tran echoed Berry’s statement, saying the NEEC program allows all the NAVSEA Warfare Centers a chance to find and recruit new talent.

“The NEEC team works with Melissa and her team in human resources to establish a seamless process to identify potential recruits, match them with functional areas at NUWC Division, Keyport and then bring them on board as part of the team,” Tran said. The NEEC program is one of several ways NAVSEA and its 10 Warfare Centers work to find affordable, innovative solutions to naval technology needs while also seeking out new talent from the nation’s universities.  NUWC Division, Keyport has embraced this program, Berry said.  These opportunities allow all ten NAVSEA warfare centers to collaborate with each other as they find innovative solutions and recruit new talent.


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