By Nicole Friedman
PBN Staff Writer
NEWPORT â€“ The Naval Undersea Warfare Center joined the Massachusetts High Technology Councilâ€™s Innovation Access Network to better connect with technology providers in New England.
The network, which launched in February, connects â€śseekersâ€ť â€“ companies, research institutions or government agencies in search of technological support or services â€“ with â€śinnovators,â€ť or New England-based technological entrepreneurs and businesses.
As a seeker, the NUWC will be able to post requests for services on the IAN website and search the networkâ€™s database of services and products offered by innovators.
The NUWC, which conducts research, development and testing for the U.S. Navy undersea and submarine systems, lost its ability to issue contracts after a kickback scandal was revealed in February. The center is working with its parent agency, Naval Sea Systems Command, to restore contract authority, according to a news release. Currently, NAVSEA can issue contracts for NUWC.
The Newport NUCS employed 2,758 civilians and 30 members of the military in 2010. The center spent around $534 million in contracts last year, $317 million of which went to Rhode Island businesses.
â€śHistorically, small businesses account for a large percentage of transformational innovation, and NUWC Division Newport, as a progressive government organization, seeks to foster widespread innovation,â€ť said NUWC Division Newport Commander Captain Todd Cramer in a statement. â€śTo do so, we will look to small businesses for fresh ideas and concepts.â€ť
Other IAN seekers include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Lockheed Martin and Draper Labs. The network hopes to expand its innovator base to 500 by the end of 2011.