Preserving America's naval engineering edge

ACCeSS collaborates to push the boundaries of naval technology.

The Atlantic Center for the Innovative Design and Control of Small Ships (ACCeSS) at Stevens Institute of Technology announced major funding for the next five years worth $4.5 million by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as part of its National Naval Responsibility – Naval Engineering (NNR-NE) program.

ACCeSS is a consortium of both University and Industry partners including: the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Post Graduate School, University College London; Florida Atlantic University; Webb Institute; Lockheed Martin; AMSEC LLC (Northrop-Grumman); VT Shipbuilding and Band-Lavis Associates.

Established at Stevens in 2002, the ACCeSS Research Center brings together engineering disciplines associated with hull design and ship automation to develop innovative design concepts and ship design tools in response to future objectives of the Navy. This research activity has a vibrant educational component that seeks to enhance the recruitment and development of the U.S. ship designers of tomorrow.

NNR-NE recognizes the tremendous impact that research institutions have on Naval and ship-building capabilities. "With continuing support from the Office of Naval Research, the ACCeSS Research Center underlies our commitment to our nation’s critical need for next-generation research and development, and highly-skilled graduates in shipbuilding and naval engineering," said Dr. George P. Korfiatis, Provost and University Vice President at Stevens.

Stevens Research Associate Professor Raju Datla is the Principal Investigator in this grant entitled, "Studies on Small Waterplane Area Center Hull (SWACH) Trimaran and Unmanned Surface Vessels." Key objectives include:

  • Unmanned Surface Vessels - hullforms, hydrodynamics, maneuvering and control, launching and retrieval
  • Trimaran - a new Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) based concept, design exploration, large scale experimental and numerical studies in hydrodynamics
  • Education Exchange - student participation in research and in autonomous surface vehicle competition; faculty and student exchange and industry internships.

"This is a terrific award to a well-deserving group," said Alan F. Blumberg, Ph.D., George Meade Bond Professor and Director, Center for Maritime Systems at Stevens. "Their previous accomplishments have been quite innovative and led to outstanding developments in ship performance and design analysis. This new award will allow a continuation of that work and provide more opportunities for the recruitment, training, and long-term career development of aspiring creative ship designers both in the U.S. and U.K."

"This grant is an affirmation of the innovative research and educational activities being undertaken by the ACCeSS partner universities," said Dr. Michael Bruno, Feiler Chair Professor & Dean, School of Engineering & Science at Stevens. "The fact that the educational programs are informed by leading-edge research; and furthermore, that these activities are truly collaborative across the universities; has made ACCeSS a uniquely successful and longstanding enterprise. We congratulate Professor Datla and his leadership team at the partner universities and we look forward to many more years of creative work in support of the Navy ship design community. The timing of this award is particularly noteworthy, coming as it does on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Davidson Laboratory at Stevens, still today one of the world's premier centers of ship design research."

"The Naval Postgraduate School is very privileged, proud, and excited to continue its participation in ONR's NNR-NE program under its affiliation with the ACCeSS group. As DoD's Premier Graduate Level Defense University, NPS is looking forward to its continued collaboration with the proven leadership provided by Stevens and all national and international partners of the group." - Professor Fotis A. Papoulias, Director, Total Ship Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School

"We at Florida Atlantic University are excited to be part of this interdisciplinary international partnership led by Stevens Institute that is aimed at development of innovative designs of surface ships and their unmanned autonomous operations. We look forward to the exchanges of faculty and students and cross-fertilization of ideas and expertise between participating institutions resulting from the program. It will mutually enhance the quality of education and training of students as well as the quality of faculty research at these institutions." - Manhar Dhanak, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering at Florida Atlantic University

"The Marine Research Group at UCL is very excited with the new grant awarded by ONR. UCL has a close working relationship with Stevens having had staff exchanges, student exchanges, and a range of research activities. We are looking forward to working with Stevens and the other partners in the ACCeSS consortium." - Professor Richard Bucknall, Senior Lecturer & Course Director of M.Sc. in Marine Engineering & M.Sc. in Power Systems Engineering at University College London

"Webb Institute has been a member of ACCeSS since 2003 and we are proud to be a partner with such a distinguished group of institutions. ACCeSS is notable in that the research is conducted in a collaborative manner. Our periodic review meetings have served to synthesize our efforts and to help foster an atmosphere of teamwork.

Through our participation in ACCeSS, Webb students have engaged in research that is relevant to the U.S. Navy. Several of our Senior Theses have focused on ACCeSS related research. Our students' ability to interact with students and faculty from member institutions has greatly enhanced their academic experience. This has resulted in 'cross pollination,' in that several Webb graduates have gone on to pursue advanced degrees from partner institutions. This cross pollination is not limited to students. In the winter of 2009, I spent time conducting research at UCL (under joint EPSRC and ONR funding), and I have been on the dissertation committee for a Stevens Institute Doctoral candidate. ONR's decision to continue funding ACCeSS for another five years is validation that our collaborative approach to research works!" - Professor Rick Royce, Associate Professor of Naval Architecture, Webb Institute

To learn more about this project, please visit the ACCeSS website

For more information on additional maritime research at Stevens, please visit the Center for Maritime Systems