3
Organizational Models for Naval Engineering Cooperative Research

In an effort to understand the various options available to the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to strengthen its naval engineering cooperative research programs, the committee solicited proposed strategies from the stakeholders in the naval engineering field, including representatives from academia, industry, professional societies, and the Navy. In response to this request, the following groups provided abstracts of proposed approaches and made oral presentations to the committee. Each proposal is identified below, and the stakeholder group that was the principal proponent of the proposal is noted in parentheses.

  • The individual investigator model (university investigator);

  • Council for Cooperative Research in Naval Engineering [Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE)];

  • Marine Research Consortium for Advanced Ship Design (university group);

  • Ship Design USA—A Collaborative Enterprise for Innovation in Ship Development (Naval Sea Systems Command);

  • Naval Engineering Research and Education Cooperative (National Shipbuilding Research Program); and

  • Distributed Marine Research Consortium for Naval Engineering (university group).

In addition, the committee solicited and received presentations and information on other cooperative research models that have been successful in meeting national needs, similar to those of interest to ONR in the field of naval engineering. These included summaries of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Centers Program (www.eng.nsf.gov/eec/ecm.htm), the newly formed National Ocean Partnership Program (www.nopp.org), and strategies used in the oil and gas industry for cooperative research.

Finally, the committee performed a review of selected other options. These included European strategies for thematic and program research and development in marine technology and education (Ferreiro 2001; Birmingham



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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research 3 Organizational Models for Naval Engineering Cooperative Research In an effort to understand the various options available to the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to strengthen its naval engineering cooperative research programs, the committee solicited proposed strategies from the stakeholders in the naval engineering field, including representatives from academia, industry, professional societies, and the Navy. In response to this request, the following groups provided abstracts of proposed approaches and made oral presentations to the committee. Each proposal is identified below, and the stakeholder group that was the principal proponent of the proposal is noted in parentheses. The individual investigator model (university investigator); Council for Cooperative Research in Naval Engineering [Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE)]; Marine Research Consortium for Advanced Ship Design (university group); Ship Design USA—A Collaborative Enterprise for Innovation in Ship Development (Naval Sea Systems Command); Naval Engineering Research and Education Cooperative (National Shipbuilding Research Program); and Distributed Marine Research Consortium for Naval Engineering (university group). In addition, the committee solicited and received presentations and information on other cooperative research models that have been successful in meeting national needs, similar to those of interest to ONR in the field of naval engineering. These included summaries of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Centers Program (www.eng.nsf.gov/eec/ecm.htm), the newly formed National Ocean Partnership Program (www.nopp.org), and strategies used in the oil and gas industry for cooperative research. Finally, the committee performed a review of selected other options. These included European strategies for thematic and program research and development in marine technology and education (Ferreiro 2001; Birmingham

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research 2001; Goldan 2001), the National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP 2001), and selected literature on the development and characteristics of applied research programs (TRB 2000; Deen and Harder 1999; NRC 2000). In the interest of making the task more manageable and focusing on the core strategies to conduct cooperative research programs, the committee elected to describe and evaluate a small number of underlying organizational models, rather than each of the specific proposals noted above. Each of these organizational models was evaluated on the basis of its ability to meet the goals and objectives that were identified and discussed in Chapter 2. The two overall goals for these models are to maintain and develop human capital and to revitalize naval engineering and improve ship design and production. Given this goal orientation and using the strategy of identifying core organizational models, the committee selected the following four models for discussion and evaluation: Individual principal investigator, Professional society/community of practitioners [this model incorporates the features of the proposal presented by the professional societies (SNAME and ASNE)], Consortium or center (this model incorporates the features of the proposals offered by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the National Shipbuilding Research Program, and the university group), and Project-centered (this model incorporates the features of the proposal offered by the second university group). The first model on this list (principal investigator) is the one currently used by ONR for most of its research projects and is considered the base or reference model for the purposes of the committee’s discussion and evaluation. The other three models represent various approaches for cooperative research organizations. The individual principal investigator model and the three cooperative research organization models are presented and evaluated in this report. In this chapter, the principal features of each of the above organizational models are presented and discussed. Each model is described in terms of its basic organization and an organizational flowchart that shows the process by which research topic areas or themes and individual proposals are solicited, reviewed, and funded, and performance is assessed; the approach used to foster education of future professionals; and the principal mechanism for transfer of technology to the shipbuilding industry. An assessment of the ability of each organizational model to meet ONR goals and objectives is presented in Chapter 4. As noted in the description of each model, many variations in the structural details and the way in which the organizational model is implemented strongly influence the success of the approach. As an example, central to

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research many organizational models is an executive/steering committee or council. Alternative strategies in establishing the composition, leadership, and authority of this committee can strongly affect what constituencies are best served and what direction the research program will follow. In this presentation no attempt has been made to give a full overview of the organizational details that might be implemented in such cases, but only to present what might typically be employed if this model were selected. In presenting the various cooperative research models, the committee has made two fundamental assumptions that it applied to all cooperative models in order to make them consistent and responsive to the needs of ONR’s overall mission: Assumption 1. The cooperative research organization will perform the contracting functions for the individual projects that are funded by ONR. Assumption 2. The cooperative research organization has the responsibility for proposing the annual research themes and submitting them to ONR, which will review and approve these themes before projects are selected and funded. The research organization will then review proposals for individual projects, award contracts, and evaluate performance. INDIVIDUAL PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR MODEL Organization and Management In this model, an individual investigator or small team of investigators, typically working for a university or research organization, submits a proposal to ONR for funding. ONR reviews the proposal and funds the project on the basis of ONR’s assessment of the quality of the proposal and the relevance of the work to its needs. Figure 3-1 shows the basic organizational structure of this model, and Figure 3-2 shows a flowchart of the steps that would typically be taken from project initiation through completion. The relationship between FIGURE 3-1 Individual principal investigator organizational model.

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research FIGURE 3-2 Individual principal investigator (PI) flowchart. ONR and the investigator’s organization is in the form of a contract/grant that has a discrete start and end. In this model, the typical individual investigator is a university professor assisted by one or more graduate student research assistants. However, the category could also refer to an individual in a government laboratory or a private R&D company. The distinguishing feature is that the research is initiated and led by an individual (in some cases there may be co-principal investigators) while the parent organization provides the necessary support in the form of secretarial, library, shop, computing, and physical laboratory facilities. In the university example, the educated graduates must be consid-

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research ered the most important output of the research program. Perhaps the most common occurrence of this type of program is the case of an especially talented and outstanding individual who is the sole representative of the interest area (e.g., naval hydrodynamics or marine structural dynamics) in a large or small department or college. Such an individual, for many reasons, might wish to remain in his or her present situation and would be unwilling to move to another institution that may be chosen by ONR to establish a large cooperative research program. Research In this model, the focus is typically on researcher-generated ideas for fundamental research. Topic areas proposed by the investigator are based either on the investigator’s own assessment of ONR’s needs or on an ONR solicitation of interests in given topic areas. Proposals are submitted by the investigator through the parent organization’s research office and are reviewed by ONR technical personnel and potentially others (peer review), and a funding decision is made by ONR. A contract/grant is established between the investigator’s organization and ONR to perform the research. Project performance is based on a review by ONR technical personnel or their designees. The work is typically summarized in terms of progress reports, presentations at professional meetings, and publication in the peer-reviewed literature. In this model, ONR manages the individual research projects that make up its research portfolio to meet its overall program objectives. Typically, the research undertaken by an individual principal investigator will be of a fundamental nature, without necessarily having an immediate application to a real-world problem. This is partly because of the philosophies and constraints in a university environment that tend to encourage the creation of new knowledge over the application of existing knowledge to the solution of practical problems. In addition, fundamental research is often more suited in scope and methodology to an individual or small group effort and to the graduate thesis research concept. Education The principal contribution to education, inherent in this model, is the support of graduate students (tuition, fees, wages) and the development of professionals with advanced education and research experience in the field. The project principal investigator also serves as a mentor to the graduate students. Additional benefits include support of the development of the university’s physical (equipment, laboratories, shops) and human (faculty, staff, laboratory technicians, ship crews) infrastructure.

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research Technology Transfer Technology transfer to industry is generally a secondary consideration in this model in the short term, but may be significant in the long term. The degree of technology transfer is based primarily on the interests of the investigator and those of the ONR technical representative. PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY/COMMUNITY OF PRACTITIONERS MODEL Organization and Management The organization and management of the research enterprise in this model is performed under the direction of the community of practitioners in the field. For many technical areas, the community of practitioners is organized into professional societies—in this case ASNE and SNAME. In this approach, the professional society establishes a research council, usually a not-for-profit organization, which serves as the vehicle to organize and manage the research program. Figure 3-3 shows the basic organizational structure of this model, and Figure 3-4 is a flowchart of the typical steps in the process from project initiation to completion. The research council is typically made up of representatives from the various stakeholders, including individuals from academia, industry, government (funding agency and others), and professional societies. The composition and leadership (chair and vice chair, or executive committee) of the research council can be structured to achieve the required FIGURE 3-3 Professional society/community of practice organizational model.

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research FIGURE 3-4 Community of practice organizational flowchart. balance in the program’s direction. In this model, committees, either newly formed or currently part of the professional society’s structure, are used to perform various tasks in support of the research council. Committee membership is usually broad-based, drawn from society volunteer membership. The committee structure is typically organized to address the various key constituencies and objectives of the program and to divide the workload equitably. In this case committees on research (requirements and assessment), technology transfer, and education would likely be established. These individual committees would report to the research council. Research In this approach, research themes are solicited, evaluated, and proposed by a research committee. This committee’s proposed themes are then reviewed

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research and evaluated by the research council. The council then selects the research agenda to be pursued and submits it to ONR for approval and funding. The research committee then solicits proposals from the research community in the theme areas via the professional society using standard government procedures for announcing solicitations and requesting proposals. The research committee directs the peer review of proposals submitted by individual investigators and project teams within the research themes and makes recommendations to the research council for funding. This process will likely be some form of peer review. The research council then reviews the funding recommendations and makes final decisions. Contract management is typically performed by the council’s staff. Evaluation of research progress is performed by the research committee, typically on an annual basis, with feedback provided to the research council. The research council may continue support for the work or terminate research that is not making acceptable progress. Education At the individual investigator or project team level, the educational contributions are similar to those for the individual principal investigator model described above. In addition, most professional societies have education committees that foster collaboration between various educational institutions and industry to ensure that their undergraduate and graduate degree programs are producing the professional workforce necessary to meet industry’s needs. This model would foster these kinds of educational programs either through an existing society education committee or one appointed to complement the features of a specific project. In addition, this model could be used to provide direct support for educational initiatives if so desired. Technology Transfer As in the education arena, one of the committees in this organizational model would have prime responsibility to ensure that advancements made in the research program are rapidly and effectively transferred to industry and that industry needs are clearly articulated to the research community. CONSORTIUM OR CENTER MODEL Organization and Management In the center or consortium model, industry, university, or the government can serve as a host to the center. Figure 3-5 shows the basic organizational structure for this model, and Figure 3-6 is a flowchart showing the steps in the process from project initiation to completion. The center is a permanent

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research FIGURE 3-5 Center or consortium organizational model. entity and provides ongoing management of the research, education, and outreach and technology transfer activities. Typically, a director would lead the center with support from a deputy or associate directors, or both. The director is also supported by a small administrative staff and, in some cases, a contract management staff. The director of the center normally reports to, and serves at the pleasure of, an executive committee. The executive committee, similar to the research council in the professional society model, is usually composed of representatives from the various stakeholders, including those from academia, industry, government (funding agencies and others), and professional societies. To solicit input and disseminate information to a wider portion of the community, the executive committee may establish affiliate committees, advisory boards, industrial liaison groups, and outreach specialists. Research In this approach research themes are solicited, evaluated, and proposed by the executive committee and affiliate committees, to the extent that they are included in the center’s organizational structure. After approval of the theme areas and funding of the consortium by ONR, proposals are solicited from the research community in the theme areas by the executive committee. Peer

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research FIGURE 3-6 Consortium organizational flowchart. review of proposals submitted by individual investigators and teams is performed under the supervision of the technical director with the assistance of the support staff. The technical director then prepares a portfolio of research projects to be funded, on the basis of the research themes and the availability of funds. The individual projects that make up the portfolio and the overall integration of the research projects into a research program are reviewed and approved by the executive committee. Core support for the center management, outreach and technology transfer initiatives, and selected educational initiatives (scholarships, internships, sabbatical leaves) are provided by the institution hosting the center. The technical director oversees the evaluation of research performance either via a peer-review process of products generated through the research program or some other appropriate process. Affiliate committees might be used to serve this function as well for projects

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research where the affiliates have a strong interest. The executive committee determines continuation or cancellation of projects. Education At the individual investigator or project team level, the educational contributions are similar to those for the individual principal investigator and professional society–based models described above. The center can directly support education initiatives by soliciting and funding them through the request for proposal process, establishing an educational committee, assigning an individual (e.g., assistant director) to support education coordination, and providing support directly to students and faculty (scholarships, fellowships, postdoctorate positions, visiting scholars programs, sabbatical leave positions). Technology Transfer Technology transfer in the center model is normally handled by an industrial liaison manager, through an industrial affiliates committee, or through professional society committees that are focused in the area of interest. Combinations of these strategies may also be used. Centers often include an industrial affiliates program that allows industrial representatives to have input in setting the research themes, preferential access to the results of the research programs, and early identification of and access to graduates being produced by the program. The technology transfer is often strongly linked to the host’s intellectual property development program. PROJECT-CENTERED MODEL Organization and Management In the project-centered model, an executive council similar in composition to that in the center model establishes research themes and handles the processing and review of proposals. Figure 3-7 shows the basic organizational structure for this model, and Figure 3-8 is a flowchart showing the typical process from project initiation though completion. The executive council is permanent but typically has staged, rotating membership. The executive council chair provides the principal leadership for the council and may oversee a small administrative staff that supports the council’s work. Additional input on research themes is handled through workshops and open forums, professional society committees, or industry associations. For each project theme a technical review committee is established to prepare the request for proposal, evaluate project proposals, and assess performance on the projects. The technical review committee remains in existence as long as projects are active and disbands when projects are completed or terminated.

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research FIGURE 3-7 Project-centered organizational model. Research In the project-centered model, the executive council solicits input from the stakeholders and develops a research agenda. The agenda includes one or several annual themes or National Challenge Initiatives and perhaps an open solicitation for ideas. The themes are reviewed and approved by ONR. The executive council next establishes a technical review committee for each theme or National Challenge Initiative. This committee drafts a call for proposals in the theme area. The request for proposals is subsequently reviewed, approved, and issued by the executive council. Proposals submitted under the call would typically be required to have multidisciplinary teams that represent the stakeholders. The technical review committee would review and rank the proposals and provide this information to the executive council. The executive council would then select proposals for the theme area and make decisions on funding. The executive council staff would handle the contracting. The technical review committees would perform an annual review of each project and summarize the progress made in relationship to the project milestones to the executive council. The technical review committee for each theme area would remain in existence throughout the duration of the projects funded under that theme. Education At the project team level, the educational contributions are similar to those for the individual investigator model, described above. The project-centered

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research FIGURE 3-8 Project-centered organizational flowchart (RFP = request for proposal). model can directly support education initiatives by specific requirements in the call for proposal, as in the center model. This might take the form of specifying that a certain amount of the project budget be devoted to graduate and undergraduate student funding, supporting scholarship and fellowship programs, or requiring projects to develop educational outreach efforts. Technology Transfer Technology transfer in the project-centered model is handled on a project-by-project basis. Technology transfer is automatically included in the project organization and encouraged by the multi-institutional nature of the project

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research team investigators. Technology transfer can be enhanced if the requests for proposals or broad area announcements include requirements and rewards for such features. SUMMARY Three separate cooperative research organizational models and the baseline individual investigator model were identified and described in this chapter. Each model has features that make it unique and independent of the others. On closer inspection, however, there are common threads among the models in terms of project management, research theme selection, use of peer review, processes to engage stakeholders, and use of councils and committees to make recommendations and decisions. These issues are discussed further in Chapter 5. It is possible to have hybrids or mixes of the above models under which practices typical of one model are embedded in the operation of another. The most common version of this practice is investing some portion of the research portfolio in principal investigator–generated ideas (individual principal investigator model) that are important to the general field but may not be central to any one of the research themes. The latter activities are characterized by the fact that they are long term, high risk, and potentially high payoff. Another likely strategy would be to include a major project in either the professional society/community of practice model or the consortium model. The review of proposals and evaluation of research results could be performed by using the approaches inherent in those models or the technical review committee employed in the project-centered model. This hybrid approach is best suited to research programs where several large, complex projects need to be performed within the professional society or consortium model. Finally, the professional society and consortium models can include both the individual investigator and project-centered approaches. This strategy can provide more flexibility in accomplishing the goals of the research program, but it usually increases the complexity in managing the research program. REFERENCES Abbreviations NRC National Research Council NSRP National Shipbuilding Research Program TRB Transportation Research Board Birmingham, R. 2001. Some Developments in Marine Technology Education in the United Kingdom. Paper 18. Presented at 2001 Ship Production Symposium and Expo, Ypsilanti, Mich., June 13–15.

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Naval Engineering: Alternative Approaches for Organizing Cooperative Research Deen, T. B., and B. T. Harder. 1999. NCHRP Synthesis of Highway Practice 280: Seven Keys to Building a Robust Research Program. TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C. Ferreiro, L. 2001. Point Paper on the Organization of Research and Development in Europe. Office of Naval Research. Goldan, M. 2001. European Maritime Research: Objectives, Organization, Content, and Parallels to the NSRP. Paper 1. Presented at 2001 Ship Production Symposium and Expo, Ypsilanti, Mich., June 13–15. NRC. 2000. An Assessment of Naval Hydrodynamics Science and Technology. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. NSRP. 2001. Strategic Investment Plan for the U.S. Shipbuilding Industry. Revision 2. NSRP Advanced Shipbuilding Enterprise, Oct. 15. TRB. 2000. Characteristics of Successful Applied Research Programs. White paper to support development of reports by the Research and Technology Coordinating Committee, the Surface Transportation– Environment Cooperative Research Program Advisory Board, and the Committee for a Study for a Future Strategic Highway Research Program. Oct. 10.

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