ONR Announces Multimillion-Dollar 'STEM Grand Challenge'

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
875 N. Randolph St., #1225-D
Arlington, Va. 22203.1771
Office: (703) 696.5031
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For Immediate Release: June 15, 2011

By the Office of Naval Research

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr announced an incentive plan to award up to $8 million for ideas aimed at boosting K-12 education in the sciences during a June15-16 conference in Alexandria, Va.

“Today’s approaches to training and education must seek new innovative ways to sustain America’s position as a global technology leader,” Carr told the more than 650 government, academia and business leaders gathered at the Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) forum.

“I wouldn’t begin to pretend that the Navy is going to solve the country’s STEM problem…there are others out there working very hard to do that,” Carr continued, “but we also want to make sure we are all intersected in a way that we can get the most out of the collective.”

The challenge is one of many efforts the Navy has developed to encourage students, parents and teachers to pursue STEM education and careers. Through its STEM initiatives, the Navy seeks to increase the talent pool of future Sailors, naval scientists and engineers.

The Navy will award up to $1.5 million to each Phase One selectee. Teams will compete to advance to Phase Two. In the second stage, up to two teams will be awarded as much as $1 million each to extend their Phase One success to a Navy training challenge for another year. The technologies will be designed to meet students’ individual learning style.

ONR will issue the proposal as part of its Long-Range Broad Agency Announcement for Navy and Marine Corps science and technology efforts. Contract awards are expected in fiscal 2012 and ONR officials anticipate multiple awards for Phase One.

In Phase One, participating Grand Challenge teams must develop an intelligent tutor, a system that uses computers and provides direct customized instruction to augment the classroom and serve as an aid for teaching middle to high school STEM curriculum. Teams will be evaluated on how well they demonstrate significant student improvement in retention, reasoning and problem solving, at an affordable cost. Based on these results, up to two teams will be selected to advance to Phase Two.

In Phase Two, selected team(s) must adapt their “tutor,” or software, to effectively address Department of the Navy-specific training audiences and criteria. The winning team will be able to demonstrate a tutor that cost effectively produces significant improvements similar to its Phase One effort. 

For more details on the STEM Grand Challenge, contact Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Cohn at joseph.cohn@navy.mil or Dr. Ray Perez at ray.perez@navy.mil.

About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Image - CNR Carr at Naval STEM Forum

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
875 N. Randolph St., #1225-D
Arlington, Va. 22203.1771
Office: (703) 696.5031
Fax: (703) 696.5940
Email: onrcsc@onr.navy.mil
Web: www.onr.navy.mil
Facebook: www.facebook.com/officeofnavalresearch

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