and Electronic Engineers) and ONR-supported scientists should be encouraged to participate.
ONR could foster technology transfer by active participation in the evolving number of centers and collaborative organizations in the United States. The National Science Foundation, for example, has a well-developed program that brings individuals from academia, government laboratories, and private industry together to establish closer working relationships and transfer technology. These R&D Centers have been formed around disciplinary topics (e.g., instrumentation, data analysis, manufacturing, advanced materials) and also with broad topic coverage (e.g., Ocean Technology Center at the University of Rhode Island).
In marine research and business development, as in other areas of modern society, electronic communications networks have become a common tool to enhance access to people, products, services, data, and information. An important goal of providing this access is efficient transfer of knowledge. To ensure adequate transfer, organizations measure performance of the electronic access system against customer (user) satisfaction and take steps to improve that performance.
ONR has made great strides in making much of the information about ONR programs and contact relationships readily available on the Internet. An example is the “ONR Home Page” on FEDIX (Federal Information Exchange). ONR has three major databases — one for each of the three areas of federally funded R&D: 6.1 (basic and applied research), 6.2 (exploratory development), and 6.3 (advanced development). The data, however, are presented in a compartmentalized, topical directory (i.e., the databases are not interactive with each other). Electronic access to each database currently requires unique knowledge and skills, creating a barrier to effective use. Such obscurity serves the interests of ONR security but impedes effective transfer of technology and knowledge.
Creating a coherent, user-friendly system of data transmission (with appropriate security measures) should be the prime objective of any ONR technology outreach program. Such a system should have not only listings but also a browse capability and a help function. Customers who are unsophisticated with computer systems should still be able to interact productively with ONR’s technology program. The discussion here applies not only to contacting the Office of Research and Technology Application (ORTA) and developing Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRDAs), for example, but also to accessing geophysical data products such as sea surface temperature and ocean circulation models.
A process should be put in place that not only measures the number of successful inquiries to the database but also provides a measure of customer satisfaction. Where matters of legitimate data security exist, the declassification systems for academic access should be extended to the private sector (subject to the same qualifications such protection imposes on academia).