ONR Distinguished Scientist Transitions to Deputy Director Role at Applied Research Laboratory

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ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - December 17, 2008 - After a three-year term leading the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Discovery and Invention (D&I) Directorate, distinguished researcher Patricia Gruber, Ph.D., is returning to Penn State University’s (PSU) Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) to serve as the Deputy Director.

Prior to joining ONR, Gruber had served as assistant to the PSU ARL Director responsible for Strategic Planning. During her tenure, Gruber expanded the research funding base to maintain and build core capabilities as a university center of research excellence for critical naval sciences and technologies.

Gruber joined ONR in a Senior Executive Service (SES) role in December 2005 under the federal government’s Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) mobility program.

In her capacity as ONR’s Director of Research, Gruber managed a nearly $800 million annual budget for D&I – an investment portfolio consisting of programs in basic and applied research. According to Gruber, "D&I programs nurture creativity and seek a balance between risk, opportunity and potential naval impact.”

ONR’s D&I funding, which exceeds the Naval Science and Technology Corporate Board’s mandate for a minimum 40% allocation toward basic and applied research, is aligned with the strong emphasis on basic research expressed by the Secretary of Defense, Robert M. Gates. During a March 2008 address to the House Armed Services Committee, Secretary Gates stated, “In total, I have directed an increase of about $1 billion over the next five years for fundamental, peer-reviewed basic research – a two percent increase in real annual growth.”

This national focus on basic research, coupled with ONR’s continuous investment in D&I, has supported Gruber’s vision for the development of naval-relevant fundamental knowledge, research relevancy to the Naval S&T strategy, future Navy and Marine Corps systems, and the health of the Defense Scientist and Engineer workforce.

Earlier this year, Gruber’s vision and stewardship over the D&I research budget earned her the Department of the Navy’s second highest civilian honor – the Superior Public Service Award.

The prominence of ONR’s Research directorate and Dr. Gruber’s return to Penn State underscores the value that ONR places upon partnerships with the most innovative minds in the global science and technology (S&T) community.

“By making the most of the talents, skills, and education of the best and brightest scientists in the nation, ONR has become the preeminent place to go for Discovery and Invention," said ONR Executive Director Walter Jones, Ph.D. “We are very proud of Dr. Gruber and her important contributions to ONR and to Naval S&T.”

Additionally, Dr. Gruber applied her strategic planning background to lead the Navy’s development of its first-ever strategic plan for science and technology. Published in early 2007, the Naval S&T Strategic Plan articulates an S&T vision for the Navy to help guide investment decision-making.

In her new capacity as PSU ARL’s Deputy Director, Gruber will continue to increase awareness about ONR’s partnership opportunities and university research initiatives for basic and applied research, including the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP), Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists & Engineers (PECASE) and the Young Investigator Program (YIP).

In fact, national recognition for various technologies funded through these university research initiatives has been steadily increasing throughout the last year of Gruber’s tenure: Popular Science Magazine’s 7th Annual Brilliant 10 Scientists to Watch list showcased three ONR-funded university scientists and their research; Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2008 highlighted two ONR-funded university inventions, one of which has been lauded by PC World Magazine as one of the “15 Hot New Technologies That Will Change Everything” and hailed by EE Times magazine for potentially launching the next great technology revolution.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Patricia Gruber coming back home again to Happy Valley,” said ARL Director Dr. Edward Liszka. “We are truly looking forward to having her contributions to the laboratory as Deputy Director.”

Liszka explained Dr. Gruber will provide essential connectivity between ARL, ONR, NAVSEA, and the University’s colleges and institutes. He added that Dr. Gruber will play a major role in creating the lab’s strategic plan in the coming years.

“The experience she has gained as Director of Research at ONR the last few years will greatly benefit her leadership and program development capabilities,” Liszka said. “We are anxious to get her back in her new leadership role here at the Applied Research Laboratory-Penn State.”

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About The Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology (S&T) necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological warfighting dominance. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in Science and Technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1035 institutions of higher learning, and 914 private industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1400 people, comprised of uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.
For information about ONR, please visit: http://www.onr.navy.mil.

Public Affairs
Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications Office
Phone: 703-696-5031
Fax: 703-696-5940
E-mail: onrcsc@onr.navy.mil

 

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