MISSOULA – The University of Montana has forged a new cooperative research agreement with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center based in Keyport, Washington.

The agreement will make possible U.S. Department of Defense funding opportunities ranging from $500,000 to $10 million. Initial areas identified for collaboration include:

  • Improving monitoring and modeling of coastal dynamics and land-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic.
  • Developing new remote-sensing applications for environmental monitoring.
  • Developing new artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications for rapid environmental assessments.

“As far as I’m aware, this is the first formal cooperative agreement ever established between UM and the Navy,” said John Kimball, a forestry professor and researcher who directs UM’s Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group. “The agreement was initiated by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and is a testament to UM’s growing reputation as a national leader in environmental research and education.”

He said the research arrangement will provide UM researchers access to the Navy’s state-of-the-art chemistry and sensor laboratories and test facilities. It also will give UM students new research opportunities involving advanced data science, cyber research and computer science development that support DoD and Navy research and development objectives.

“Students will benefit in a variety of ways,” Kimball said. “These include new research and funding opportunities and advanced training in the development and use of environmental sensors, remote sensing, AI and machine-learning methods for data processing.”

He said the agreement demonstrates that UM’s research expertise and educational resources are well aligned to meet the needs of the Navy and other federal agencies.

“UM researchers will have access to multiyear project awards ranging up to tens of millions of dollars annually,” Kimball said. “This agreement is expected to further enhance growth in UM research productivity and innovation and solidify our University’s R1 university ranking.”

Kimball directs the NTSG, which operates as a UM Research Center of Excellence aligned with the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation. The center is a nexus for research and technology development in satellite remote sensing and Earth system science. NTSG will serve as the point-of-contact and coordinating center for UM research activities conducted under the agreement. The University may also recruit additional participation from other experts across the globe to assemble the most qualified and effective research teams for different projects.

- by UM News Service -

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