COLLABORATION

University of Hawaii bags $77m Department of Defence contract

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The University of Hawaii (UH) has been awarded a US$77 million five-year contract by the United States Navy.

The University of Hawaii (UH) has been awarded a US$77 million five-year contract by the United States Navy to collaborate on research and evaluation programmes throughout the Department of Defence.

According to the contract notice released Monday, the university’s Applied Research Laboratory can expect to receive US$777,710 in funding in fiscal year 2019.

This is not the first time the university has partnered with the Defence Department, with UH’s Engineering School making concerted collaborative efforts to promote regional stability and sustainability in the Asia Pacific region.

UH’s Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) was established in 2008 as a Navy-sponsored lab and is one of 13 University Affiliated Research Centres within the Defence Department.

As such, the lab conducts strategic research for the Navy, the Department of Defence and other government agencies in the areas of Astronomy, Ocean Science, Remote Sensing, Electro-Optics, and Engineering Support to Sensors, Communications, and Information Technology.

In the past, the ARL has developed sensors for detections of improvised explosive devices.

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While the latest contract is welcome, the US$77 million is far less than that received by other Navy-affiliated universities in recent years.

In 2017, a research lab at the University of Texas at Austin received US$1.1 billion over a 10-year contract. A longstanding partner of the Navy since 1945, the lab has been a key developer of sonar equipment and processing techniques, and has led research on GPS satellite navigation technologies.

Other Navy-partnered labs in the US include Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory, and the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory.

As well as testing and research, UH also partners with the Navy in more humanitarian-based missions.

In 2012, they sent a team to Balikatan in the Philippines to demonstrate and assess the use of water purification systems.

They also carry out the annual Pacific Partnership, a mission that works with partner nations to execute a variety of humanitarian civic assistance missions in the Pacific Fleet area of responsibility, from a ship dedicated to the mission.