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Two CEC professors awarded significant funding from the Office of Naval Research



College of Engineering and Computing faculty Roger Dougal and Yi Wang have been awarded a combined $14.75 million in funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) for their respective research. Both awards are for three years, and Columbia-based Integer Technologies will serve as subcontractor for both research projects.


“Receiving funding from ONR is indeed quite competitive and a mark of quality. To continue to receive significant and sustained effort from ONR over the years is testimony to the thought leadership of our faculty,” says Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “Having been supported by ONR as a graduate student, and as a faculty member, I particularly appreciate their deep interest in fundamental science, as well as their interest in transitioning fundamental research to practical application.”


Dougal, a Carolina Distinguished Professor in the electrical engineering department, was awarded a $10 million contract for his research, “Digital Twins for Navy Power and Energy Systems.” The research will focus on developing a land-based, ship-like electrical grid testbed for component and system-level digital twins to digitally replicate the process of delivering power and energy to mission systems.   


Wang, a mechanical engineering associate professor, was awarded a $4.75 million contract for, “Reliable Perception for Unmanned Maritime Systems.” The goal of his research is to enable automated maritime perception systems for unmanned ships to provide better situational awareness of natural and man-made obstacles that influence navigation, with a goal of achieving perception better than a human.


“These two major, competitive grant awards from the Office of Naval Research are huge for the University of South Carolina. These grants will provide a combined investment of $14.75 million in funding for important, cutting-edge research,” says Julius Fridriksson, UofSC interim vice president for research. “On top of that, they demonstrate the high level of research excellence present in the College of Engineering and Computing under the outstanding leadership of Dean Hossein Haj-Hariri.”


Integer Technologies CEO Duke Hartman added that his company is honored to support the ONR projects by transitioning the research into functional prototypes for Navy customers. “Academic-industry partnerships like this are strongly encouraged by our national security customers, and we’ve hired some of UofSC’s best STEM graduates to keep them in Columbia, which has already generated new work for UofSC researchers and Integer.”


“I am proud of the efforts by the University of South Carolina to develop new technologies for the United States Navy to ensure that it remains the best in the world,” says Senator Lindsey Graham.

“I was proud to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure this funding was made available to the U.S. Office of Naval Research and the University of South Carolina,” says Congressman Jim Clyburn. “The research conducted with this award will not only strengthen our U.S. Naval capabilities, but also create a pipeline of diverse STEM graduates to help ensure our country retains the highest levels of national security for decades to come.”


“This funding is a testament to the hard work of the University of South Carolina and its distinguished faculty, and I’m grateful to have supported this effort,” says Congressman Joe Wilson. “I welcome the jobs this award will bring to the state and the ultimate benefits to our national security.”


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