Science and Technology News

Friday, September 11, 2015

Autonomy, Advanced Materials in Focus as ONR, Indian Scientists Meet



By David Smalley, Office of Naval Research Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Answering the call from the Chief of Naval Operations to help build and strengthen international partnerships, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and ONR Global have increased scientific cooperation with the Indian government in recent weeks, including a series of high-profile meetings in India Aug. 21-23, and in the U.S. just before that.

All of this was taking place while a U.S. Navy research vessel carries scientists from both nations into the dark, choppy waters of the Bay of Bengal to find new ways to forecast monsoons.

Recent developments include:

-Assistant Chief of Naval Research (ACNR) Capt. Rob Palisin returned last week from a trip to Bengaluru, India, having met with scientists there to advance new ways to address blast mitigation.

"This trip was a superb example of international cooperation amongst the top scientists in blast mitigation methodologies from the U.S. and India," said Palisin. "The technical acumen of India's scientists, professors and students was quite impressive-their expertise can definitely help our science and technology efforts to continue advancing in this research area.

"I had the opportunity to tour some of their world-class research facilities and anticipate there will be additional opportunities to expand the collaborative engagement between our countries."

-The ACNR's visit comes on the heels of recent meetings with Indian researchers in Arlington, Virginia, where topics ranged from traumatic brain injury to high-altitude fatigue and the effects of the atmosphere on high-energy lasers. Those meetings included naval officers, scientists, ONR Global leadership and other U.S. officials Aug. 12-14.

Called the India-U.S. Joint Technical Group (JTG), the tri-service program (including Navy, Army and Air Force participation) represents another example of the growing partnerships between the U.S. and Indian scientific communities.

"Our work with the science and technology community from India has been important and mutually beneficial," said Dr. Walter Jones, executive director at ONR, who spoke to the JTG. "To truly push the frontiers of knowledge in the sciences-to give our Sailors and Marines the technological edge-we rely on collaborative efforts like these."

Long recognized for forging scientific partnerships and fostering outreach around the world, ONR Global works with the international scientific community to advance open-source, unclassified knowledge and promote international collaboration.

ONR Global Commanding Officer Capt. Clark Troyer emphasized that U.S.-India collaboration has taken on increased prominence.

"Cooperation in science and technology is the lifeblood of scientific advancement," he said. "Cutting-edge work in cognitive science, autonomy, and advanced materials was discussed at these recent meetings-and the collaboration with our Indian colleagues has proven invaluable."

-In late August, the research vessel Roger Revelle, a ship owned by ONR, set out with U.S. and Indian scientists on a month-long mission in the Bay of Bengal, centered on monsoon prediction.

Officials affiliated with the voyage noted that ONR efforts in basic research lead to better understanding of the processes which control prediction of the ocean and atmosphere.

-Finally, recent meetings of the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Cooperation, which seeks to strengthen U.S.-India cooperation in carrier and related defense matters, included an appearance by Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter, who emphasized the importance of advancing science and technology collaborations with India.

Overall, officials say, all of these efforts further develop key partnerships that provide leading-edge technologies to Sailors and Marines today and in the future; greatly benefit the general public of both nations; and support the Pacific Pivot announced by the Obama administration in 2013.

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