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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology
ing existing ONR programs and reviewing the needs of academic marine scientists, marine industries, and government agencies. The committee could not explore all possible industrial applications of ONR technology but instead focused its attention on four important marine user groups: (1) the oil and gas industry (i.e., exploration, production, and pipeline operation), (2) fisheries, (3) environmental companies, and (4) marine equipment and service providers. Because of their economic dominance, these four groups represent that segment of the nonmilitary, marine industrial sector that the committee concluded could benefit the most from future ONR-supported research and technology development. Examples of successful technology transfer strategies and programs employed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration were also examined.
Information provided by representatives of ONR and the nonmilitary sector at committee meetings, as well as the resulting discussions, demonstrated that only a relatively small portion of the available marine technology developed by ONR is being used by the nonmilitary sector. The degree of transfer and causes of any suboptimal transfer differ for various user groups (e.g., academic scientists versus small commercial service providers). Despite this complexity, two themes emerged from the information gathered: (1) ONR appears to lack a suitable system to measure and reward successful transfer of technology to the nonmilitary sector, and (2) ONR does not appear to be sufficiently aware of private sector needs to target its technology transfer efforts effectively. The committee developed specific findings and recommendations related to ONR R#038;D and associated technology transfer programs.
ONR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
Finding: The Office of Naval Research supports leading-edge research and development (R#038;D) in many areas of ocean science and technology with applications for nonmilitary users.
ONR-supported research accounts for a tremendous array of leading-edge scientific discoveries and technological developments with potential application to nonmilitary problems (see Chapter 4). These products range from coatings and materials to reduce ship corrosion at sea to sophisticated computer models for predicting the fate and transport of oil spills (see Chapter 2). The high-quality scientific research and technology development supported by ONR is an important component of the Navy’s efforts to maintain combat readiness and tactical advantage. The committee recognizes that R#038;D supported by ONR is of vital importance to fleet effectiveness and national defense. Many of ONR’s marine research programs and the resulting products, as well as the expertise they represent, have no equivalent in the nonmilitary sector.