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UTA, Naval Surface Warfare Center sign second partnership to enhance student research opportunities, educational experience

Friday, March 8, 2019 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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The University of Texas at Arlington and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, or NSWCDD, have signed a formal Education Partnership Agreement that will enhance research and education at UTA through interactions with the division’s personnel and enable the sharing of scientific, engineering and technological assets.

David Wetz

David Wetz, electrical engineering professor and the College of Engineering’s director of Strategic Initiatives

In addition sharing assets, the agreement lets NSWCDD researchers involve UTA faculty and students in U.S. Navy research projects, loan equipment to the University for educational purposes and potentially develop and teach science and engineering courses at UTA. It also will allow more collaborations across the full spectrum of naval technology.

The agreement is UTA’s second with a Naval Surface Warfare Center. The University signed an Educational Partnership Agreement with Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division, or NSWCPD, in October 2018.

David Wetz, an electrical engineering professor and the College of Engineering’s director of Strategic Initiatives, was instrumental in creating both partnerships. He specializes in energy storage and pulsed power system design and has been involved in extensive collaborative research projects with the Navy in these research areas since 2006.

“Both of these agreements have resulted from UTA’s long history of obtaining grant funding from the Office of Naval Research for projects that directly support ongoing efforts at NSWCDD and NSWCPD, respectively. Researchers at Dahlgren are interested in identifying additional research areas that our Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering departments, respectively, can collaborate with them on and we are so grateful for them recognizing the potential impact our faculty and students offer. Ideally, this is a college-wide opportunity that will benefit everyone involved,” Wetz said.

Wetz received an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award and has been an ONR Summer Faculty Fellow at the NWSCPD for several summers. Many of his students have obtained summer student fellowships since 2014 at NSWCDD, NSWCPD and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Darderock Division, respectively, through the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program.

“I am very pleased that our relationship with the Navy has expanded. This will strengthen our research and bring new opportunities for research to our Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering Departments. Also, our students will have even greater opportunities to work with advanced technologies before they enter the workforce,” said Peter Crouch, dean of the College of Engineering.

NSWCDD provides research, development, test and evaluation, analysis, systems engineering, integration and certification of complex naval warfare systems. Technology developed at Dahlgren is critical to new design concepts for current ships and for systems integration and interoperability for the U.S. Navy. The division also conducts basic research in all systems-related areas and pursues scientific disciplines including physics; mathematics; laser and computer technology; software, mechanical, electrical and systems engineering; biotechnology; and chemistry. 

The Educational Partnership Agreement is an example of UTA’s commitment to transforming the student experience by enhancing access and ensuring success, engaging in high-impact research and scholarship and strengthening collaboration with corporate and nonprofit sectors, as outlined in UTA’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact, said Duane Dimos, the University’s vice president for research.

“We are thrilled to be involved with NSWCDD. We have long been a partner with the Navy and these agreements underscore our desire—and theirs—to provide greater educational opportunities for our faculty and students. We look forward to working with both the Dahlgren and the Philadelphia divisions for a long time,” Dimos said.

-- written by Jeremy Agor