On Monday, February 10, 2020, UMass Dartmouth announced a $4.6 million grant from the United States Navy to fund research projects with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) and institutions of higher education. This funding represents the largest research award in UMass Dartmouth history.
The grant funding will be administered by the recently established Marine and UnderSea Technology research program (MUST) at UMass Dartmouth, which was formed to address a growing concern of the United States Navy - a lack of cutting-edge research and the scarcity of a highly trained workforce.
MUST has identified areas of focus where the expertise of faculty can have the greatest impact, including research and training in the general areas of undersea technologies addressing acoustics, signal processing, sensing, communications, and autonomous underwater vehicles. With these areas in mind, MUST has developed research projects that leverage faculty strengths to respond to critical needs of the Navy.
“This award highlights the research, talent, and expertise of the exceptional people at UMass Dartmouth. This funding will strengthen our relationship with the Navy and bolster workforce development in the marine science and technology industries that are the backbone of the Blue Economy in southern New England,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. “This would not have happened without Congressman Bill Keating, a leader in Washington D.C. that understands how this research university can support the Navy’s undersea technology needs and support a region’s economic revitalization. Thank you to Congressman Keating and to the entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation for their critical support.”
“Southeastern New England is the hub of the Blue Economy and UMass Dartmouth is unquestionably a preeminent leader in this field,” said Congressman William R. Keating. “With the funding, UMass Dartmouth will not only be providing critical naval research but also creating the highly skilled workforce needed as we move this project - and those like it - forward. This award is a perfect example of how federal grants are supposed to work. I congratulate Chancellor Johnson and the entire UMass Dartmouth community on this deserved recognition and I look forward to our continuing partnership to secure even more grants that further the Blue Economy and our region.”
“I want to congratulate Chancellor Johnson and the faculty of UMass Dartmouth for securing this major investment in ocean technology research that will enhance national defense, create jobs, and strengthen the region as a hub of marine innovation,” University of Massachusetts President Martin T. Meehan said. “This award, made possible through the leadership of Congressman Keating and his colleagues, is a strong declaration of confidence in the quality of UMass Dartmouth research and teaching, and a prime example of the economic impact that UMass has on every region of the Commonwealth.”
This investment highlights UMass Dartmouth’s leadership in undersea technology research and training. Since 2015, UMass Dartmouth has secured 19 awards from the Navy, with a cumulative investment of nearly $5 million prior to the 2020 funding.
“UMass Dartmouth is a vital force anchoring Massachusetts’ sea blue economy. Innovation is at the heart of the collaborative partnerships between scientific leaders, like those at NUWC, to create opportunities where both the government and academia excel at solving problems. I’m proud we were able to secure this vital federal funding. I’m going to keep fighting for opportunities that grow our innovation economy and to ensure that we build upon this partnership for years to come,” said Senator Edward Markey.
“The Navy’s investment in its partnership with the Marine and UnderSea Technology research program is a testament to the Commonwealth’s ongoing leadership in research and technology,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “This new funding will allow UMass Dartmouth students and faculty to expand on their integral role in undersea research.”
“Students and researchers at UMass Dartmouth are not only building a Blue Economy for the South Coast and our Commonwealth but using their knowledge and expertise to strengthen our national security. With this well-earned grant, the MUST program will bring new opportunities for our next generation workforce,” said Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III.
“The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport has a long term collaborative relationship with UMass Dartmouth. ONR’s MUST research funding promotes the development of the southeastern New England undersea technology community and will provide additional opportunities for teamwork in the future,” said Ronald Vien, Technical Director at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
UMass Dartmouth is the second leading supplier of workforce talent to NUWC and offers the necessary program synergies to accelerate the growth of a highly-skilled science and engineering workforce in southern New England.
“This unique opportunity leverages UMass Dartmouth’s long-standing strengths in marine technologies within three colleges to expand cutting-edge research and developing highly-skilled scientists and engineers in areas of critical needs for the Navy. UMass Dartmouth and the Navy has long enjoyed a great synergistic partnership. I look forward to taking it to the next level,” said Associate Provost and Professor of Computer Science Ramprasad Balasubramanian, who is the principal investigator on the grant and will lead the Marine and UnderSea Technology (MUST) research program.