BEDFORD, Mass., AND McLEAN, Va. — Nov. 10, 2021 – The University of Rhode Island joined MITRE today in its announcement of the new MITRE BlueTech Lab, a national resource for advancing undersea testing, innovation, and collaboration. URI also joins the Northeast BlueTech Science and Engineering Acceleration (BlueSEA) Coalition as a founding member, along with MITRE, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MassChallenge, and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport.
The MITRE BlueTech Lab will be a state-of-the-art, all-weather maritime test facility and a national resource for advancing undersea testing, innovation, and collaboration. At a groundbreaking ceremony today, the founding members of the Northeast BlueSEA Coalition announced their commitment to collaborate to advance maritime innovation and to conduct research at the new MITRE BlueTech Lab.
The Northeast BlueSEA Coalition, composed of leading academic, government and not-for-profit maritime technology organizations will work together to accelerate solutions to complex maritime challenges by combining complementary skills, assets, resources, equipment, and infrastructure.
“Maritime technology is deeply engrained in many of the key challenges facing our nation and the world, including climate, national security and clean energy,” said Douglas Robbins, vice president, engineering and prototyping, MITRE Labs. “The MITRE BlueTech Lab will accelerate and provide a foundation for underwater research and innovation for positive impact and help make New England a global nexus of maritime research.”
As the only founding academic partner in the Coalition, URI President Marc B. Parlange said, “URI is well positioned to train and educate the next generation workforce, and drive the creation of ‘blue jobs’ in this dynamic, emerging industry.
“This partnership presents a great opportunity to develop high-impact regional joint and multi-party efforts that will accelerate maritime innovation and enhance U.S. security and competitiveness,” said President Parlange. “This collaborative effort fits well with the University’s broader ambitions to advance blue economy innovation and research and align strategic investments to be complementary, as we work together to make New England the country’s leading region on ocean science and technology.”
URI faculty and staff will collaborate in areas where the partners have strengths and where collaboration creates greater opportunity to accelerate advances in maritime technology. Areas of interest include renewable energy and climate sciences, manned and unmanned undersea technology, protection and resilience of critical national infrastructure and supply chains, and defending the nation and its assets from attack in the physical and digital domains.
The Coalition will help close gaps in regional capabilities, facilities, and equipment among the partners, investing in complementary assets that either provide new capabilities or add necessary capacity. This newest investment by MITRE will supplement the current and planned facilities at URI, WHOI, and NUWC helping to ensure Southern New England remains the Silicon Valley of the undersea technology world.
Holding roughly 575,000 gallons of water, the lab’s test tank will be the longest and one of the largest freshwater tanks available in the region. It will support research, testing, and rapid prototyping in acoustic sensing, acoustic communications, unmanned underwater vehicles, maritime autonomy, and climate science research and development. The lab will be open to government agencies, research organizations, startups, and commercial companies, and is expected to begin operations in late 2022.
Additionally, through this new partnership, MITRE will extend its NERVE network to connect physical labs at each of the BlueSEA Coalition locations providing its unique institutional capabilities and infrastructure for real-time testing and collaboration across organizations. This will create an unmatched collection of connected research capability with a focus on maritime technology
“With the BlueTech Lab maritime test facility, MITRE is once again leading the way for advancing undersea science and testing,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA). “Together, this lab with our great research institutions will foster an ecosystem of collaboration that will help us confront the climate crisis we face.”
“Tomorrow’s challenges will require the combined efforts of government, academia, industry and the nonprofit sector. I’m so excited that the BlueTech Lab is working hard to create the infrastructure needed to meet these challenges,” said Rep. Seth Moulton (MA-06). “MITRE’s commitment to the research and development of next generation technologies is pivotal to our continued fight against climate change and will simultaneously help to bolster our national security–two goals that are immensely important to the future of our country. I look forward to working closely with the team at MITRE to tackle some of the most challenging problems facing our nation and achieve meaningful progress in maritime technology.”
“By developing one of the largest freshwater tanks in the region, MITRE is making a vital investment in the blue economy and tackling climate change in the process,” said Rep. Jake Auchincloss (MA-04). “The BlueTech Lab is another reason why New England leads the way in innovation and discovery.”
“WHOI is a world leader in ocean science, engineering and marine operations, and this collaboration is an important step to help accelerate ocean discovery and innovation,” said Peter de Menocal, president and director at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “We’re thrilled to be a part of this new national resource, as we advance understanding of the ocean and its importance to the planet.”
“We are excited to continue our collaborations with all these great organizations,” said Dr. Jason Gomez, chief technology officer, NUWC Division Newport. “The Northeast has always been the leader in undersea technology development, and with increased dependence and opportunity in the undersea domain, we need to combine the complementary capabilities of government, academia, and industry to grow the Blue Economy and provide our Fleet with the advanced capabilities they need.”
“MassChallenge is pleased to be among the founding members of the Northeast BlueSEA Coalition. We believe this coalition represents more than just a commitment to the advancement of innovation-it’s a commitment to collaboration that draws together the strengths of our region,” said Hope Hopkins, managing director of Early Stage New England programs at MassChallenge. “ Critical infrastructure, and access to facilities like the new MITRE BlueTech Lab that we broke ground on today, are essential for endeavoring blue tech entrepreneurs seeking to prototype, pilot and validate their technologies. The opportunity we unlocked today will have long lasting impact on the future of maritime innovation in New England and around the globe.”
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About the University of Rhode Island
The University of Rhode Island is a competitive and highly regarded public institution in New England and beyond. Founded in 1892, the University of Rhode Island is the principal public flagship research and graduate institution in Rhode Island, with 17,609 undergraduate and graduate students. Visit uri.edu to learn more. Media Contact: Linda Acciardo, firstname.lastname@example.org or Dawn Bergantino, email@example.com