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New DARPA Director to Bring Fresh Perspective to ONR's Biennial Event

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS121009-08

By Eric Beidel, Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) new director will share her vision Oct. 22 at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) 2012 Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference and American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Expo.

Dr. Arati Prabhakar, who took the helm at DARPA July 30, will take the podium at 11:30 a.m. on the event's opening day in Crystal City, Va. Her participation underscores the importance of research partnerships to national security and the commitment to collaboration shared by DARPA, ONR and other Department of Defense research organizations.

"Technology is a critical lever for our national security in today's complex world," said Prabhakar. "At DARPA, along with our partners at ONR and the broad national research-and-development community, we aim to change what is possible with new technology."

ONR and DARPA have partnered on a variety of research projects, including multiple endeavors to promote education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

This year, the agencies teamed to co-sponsor the RevCon Challenge, a competition among college students to design connectors that more effectively conduct heat from radars and other military electronic systems. Based on the success of the competition, ONR and DARPA will host a second challenge in May.

Previously, the agencies also collaborated on the Second Language Learning program, which will reduce the time it takes for Sailors and Marines to learn other languages and cultures through virtual interaction with avatars.

Prabhakar is no stranger to interest areas shared by ONR, having first joined DARPA in 1986 as a program manager in advanced semiconductor technology and flexible manufacturing. She founded the agency's microelectronics technology office before being appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

She also has spent several years in the private sector, including a stint working with start-up companies and entrepreneurs in energy and efficiency technologies, consumer electronics components and semiconductor process and design technology.

Dr. Charles Wessner, director of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the National Academy of Sciences, also has been confirmed to speak at the conference. He and Prabhakar join a roster of heavy hitters for the conference that includes White House Office of Science & Technology Policy Director Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean Stackley, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, and others representing the domestic and international scientific community.

Focus areas at this year's event include: autonomy and unmanned systems; assuring access to maritime battle space; expeditionary and irregular warfare; power projection and integrated defense; power and energy; warfighter performance; and total ownership cost.

A full agenda for the conference, which runs from Oct. 22-24, is available on ONR's web site.

Register for the event on ONR's web site and visit ONR's Facebook and Twitter pages regularly for updates.

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, 30 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and more than 900 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,065 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

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