NEWPORT – The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport held its first Tech Bridge – a program to open collaborations between the U.S. Navy and groups such as startups, small businesses and nonprofits – on Sept. 13.
About two dozen participants attended, both in person and via video conference, including Director of Tech Bridges Cmdr. Sam Gray, who describes the events as regional hubs of innovation.
The purpose of the event was to coordinate activities, discuss the status of programs and contracting mechanisms, and highlight challenges so that each Tech Bridge can progress on a united front, according to NUWC.
Tech Bridges were launched from NavalX, a program intended to connect the Department of the Navy workforce.
“Tech Bridge is another important tool we can use to stimulate our ecosystem and engage partners in the region to conduct [research and development] in pursuit of accelerated deployment to our warfighter,” NUWC Chief Technology Officer Vic Ricci said. “It will seek to capitalize on both planned research projects as well as serendipitous sparks that are often the most important discoveries leading to game-changing capability.”
Among the topics addressed was the strategic focus for Tech Bridges for the next two to three years; the goal is to establish the Tech Bridge as a national network of connected regional platforms to quickly experiment, assess and engage with partners in government, industry and academia to solve problems.
NUWC Division Newport’s Prize Challenge – co-sponsored by the Office of Naval Research in August – was discussed as a possible example that fulfills this strategic focus.
Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.
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