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Crane’s Innovation Program Expands Research and Opportunities for the Region

By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support for Radius Indiana

As the state’s only federal laboratory, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division is entrusted to develop the high-level technologies that are critical to our military missions, and to provide superior capabilities for our service men and women.

Each year, NSWC Crane goes above and beyond its mission requirements to further capitalize on the research and development being conducted by some of the best and brightest scientists and engineers in the field. Through a $14 million annual program from the National Defense Authorization Act Section 219, Crane is able to fund additional research, technology transition and workforce development programs that can impact overall scientific research and also can make a difference to our region.

Crane’s Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) program panel was established to select which programs and projects will receive funding from the program each year. The panel recently met to review the 142 proposals submitted this year, and selected 47 finalists to present and answer questions on their project. Each project is judged on key factors such as alignment with Navy and base goals, importance, workforce impact, and collaboration with existing Crane and Navy divisions and departments.

Project ranging from microelectronics to advanced countermeasures deployment were among those selected for funding this year, but another program, in collaboration with Bloomington High School South, shows the reach and scope of the program that can make a local impact.

Through this program, students from the BHHS robotics team will design a mobile and remotely controlled robotic base structure to meet government detailed specifications. The final product the students create will be used by the U.S. Government for technology demonstration and evaluation.

The intention of this mutually beneficial collaboration is to inspire and support a new generation with the challenges of the ever-growing field of robotics. While the Crane team is inspired by the fresh perspective the students bring, the students will benefit from their Crane connection as they enter the workforce and pursue a career in technology.

The NISE program is a game changer for Crane in that it provides an internal research and development program and affords the flexibility to conduct research that might otherwise not be funded. Projects selected by the NISE panel pair senior scientists with junior scientists, and in the case of BHHS, student participants; creating the building blocks of future scientists and strengthening our Radius Indiana region. Radius applauds Crane and all the forward thinkers, entrepreneurs and inventors who will lead our next generation workforce.

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