For Immediate Release: Sept. 23, 2011
By Robert Anastasio, Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON, Va.—The Office of Naval Research (ONR) launched its fall Distinguished Lecture Series on Sept. 21 at its headquarters with a presentation addressing the shortfall of engineers in the United States.
Dr. James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus and professor of science and engineering at the University of Michigan, challenged the naval community to help America regain its footing on the global science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) landscape.
“Without a concerted plan of action to reverse the trend of dwindling engineers coming out of U.S. universities, we will surely lose our competitive competence,” Duderstadt said. “Federal research and development (R&D) accounted for 70 percent of the country’s total R&D activity in the 1970s. In comparison, the current federal R&D contribution is around 30 percent.”
Sponsored by ONR’s Office of Innovation, the popular lecture series is used to engage the science and technology (S&T) communities, said Dr. Larry Schuette, who heads the department.
“As the Navy's resource sponsor for science and technology, it is important that we maintain contact with the world leaders in S&T,” Schuette said. “The lectures also help us engage with the other science organizations in the Arlington, Va., area—National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and the various satellite university offices, to name a few.”
Duderstadt’s selection as a Distinguished Lecture Series presenter underscores ONR’s investment in STEM education and research, a priority for Department of the Navy. With more than 50 percent of naval scientists and engineers projected to be eligible for retirement by 2020, the Secretary of the Navy has pledged to double STEM education funding to more than $100 million over the next five years.
“Dr. Duderstadt is both an exceptional scientist-engineer and a visionary in STEM education,” Schuette said. “He has led the University of Michigan, which historically has been an engineering powerhouse. He has served on the National Science Board and has participated on or led most of the commissions and reports examining the future of America’s science and engineering education and workforce.”
Future speakers in ONR’s Distinguished Lecture Series include Rear Adm. Thomas Eccles, chief engineer and deputy commander for Naval Systems Engineering at Naval Sea Systems Command, scheduled from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 13; and Alan Leshner, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and executive publisher of the journal Science.
For more information about ONR’s Distinguished Lecture Series, contact Dr. Chris Fall in the Office of Innovation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.