URI, Naval Undersea Warfare Center partner to assist Rhode Island businesses

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URI President David M. Dooley, left and Capt. Michael R. Coughlin, commanding officer at the Newport Naval Undersea Warfare Center, are all smiles after signing the partnership agreement. URI photo by Jessica Vescera.

KINGSTON, R.I. – APRIL 13, 2017 — The University of Rhode Island’s Business Engagement Center (BEC) and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport signed a partnership agreement today to promote collaboration between the institutions focused on the shared mission to assist small business development and technology commercialization in Rhode Island and the region.

A signing ceremony to mark the agreement was held this morning at the URI Alumni Center.

The first of its kind for the University, the agreement will formalize the relationship between the University and the Newport Naval Undersea Warfare Center to promote cooperative activities, including initiatives and events to promote education, and workforce and economic development in the state related to the defense, undersea technology and marine industries. In addition, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and URI will leverage their respective resources to provide access to unique facilities and equipment, and expertise to start-ups and existing companies, as well as perform matchmaking services for the University and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center to increase the number of small business collaborations under patent license agreements, cooperative research and development agreements and direct contracts.

“From a Navy perspective, the agreement will introduce NUWC Newport engineers to emerging proprietary research and development that may have applications for us. There are opportunities for both NUWC Newport and the companies served by the URI Business Engagement Center,” said Capt. Michael R. Coughlin, commanding officer at the Newport Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

“The URI Business Engagement Center is uniquely suited to support innovation, discovery, and growth across the business community in Rhode Island,” said President David M. Dooley. “This agreement will connect the vast resources available at the University and NUWC Newport to better serve our state and beyond.”

“The partnership agreement with the Business Engagement Center will increase NUWC’s outreach and understanding of local and regional technology needs. This information is vital to the success of NUWC’s commercialization programs. It provides new avenues for our scientists and engineers to pursue under appropriate research and development agreements and allows us to identify and offer access to facilities and inventions that are meaningful to companies,” stated Mary Wohlgemuth, technical director at the Newport Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

“This agreement will further enhance the portfolio of services provided by the Business Engagement Center to the business community,” said Katharine Hazard Flynn, executive director of URI’s Business Engagement Center. “In addition, this partnership will have a direct benefit to our partners in the defense and undersea technology industries and will help grow these vital economic sectors.”

Established in 2013, the BEC serves as the “front door” for businesses to navigate the talent, knowledge and expertise that URI offers. Companies rely on the BEC to gain access to ideas and inventions to bring to market, partner on sponsored research and hire well-prepared employees who can help the companies grow. The BEC serves as a driver of the University’s economic development agenda, and will continue to support joint efforts with NUWC Division Newport, which is the U.S. Navy’s premier laboratory for undersea technologies.