UTSA receives $1.6 million as Naval Engineering Education Consortium founding member

Hector Aguilar

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(June 23, 2010)--The University of Texas at San Antonio has joined 14 universities from across the nation to form the Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC), an initiative to develop and train a pipeline of diverse and highly-qualified students at all levels to meet the Navy future workforce needs. Over the next six years, UTSA is slated to receive $1.6 million from the consortium, dependent on the consortium receipt of $50 million from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). NAVSEA designs and builds the Navy fleet of ships.

"We are very pleased to join the naval engineering community in this effort," said Brent Nowak, UTSA associate professor of mechanical engineering and the principal investigator for the UTSA NEEC initiative. "UTSA has a strong tradition in education and research, and we are proud to have this opportunity to support the Navy. We are eager to begin working with our partners to develop the next generation of naval engineers."

The NEEC will be led by faculty at the University of Michigan and includes the nation top engineering universities. As such, UTSA will join Virginia Tech, MIT, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Webb Institute, Florida State University and others. The consortium also will team with the U.S. Navy Center for Innovation in Ship Design (CISD) at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division.

NEEC will pursue a variety of initiatives to prepare the next generation of Naval engineers. Engineering students participating in NEEC will receive tuition scholarships and stipends in return for Navy service. Faculty from NEEC universities will collaborate to develop new engineering curricula tailored to the Navy training needs.

Additionally, NEEC undergraduates, graduates and faculty will work with practicing NAVSEA engineers to address some of the Navy most prominent challenges. Those projects will focus on the use of alterative energy sources, energy conservation, reduction in total ownership costs, use of unmanned vehicles, advanced ship design methods and reduction in vessel maintenance.

In addition to partnering with NAVSEA, the consortium will partner with the Department of Defense highly competitive Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) program, which supports students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and will include an outreach component for K-12 schools.