BETHESDA, Md.— Assistant Chief of Naval Research Capt. Rob Palisin and other senior leaders from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Navy watched the next generation of marine engineers test their design skills at the 13th International Submarine Races (ISR), held at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division, in Bethesda, Maryland, last week.
ISR, co-hosted by ONR, NSWC Carderock and the Program Executive Office Submarines, is a biennial event where students design, build and race a one- or two-person, human-powered submarine down a 100-meter underwater course. Most teams were from high school or college, but one team, Kids Into Discovering Science, had students as young as elementary school age.
“This event requires students to have knowledge of STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] disciplines that will be crucial for our nation moving forward,” said Kurt Yankaskas, ISR executive director and ONR program officer. “As students go through the process of designing, building and testing their submarines, the skills learned are the same ones needed in our future scientists and engineers.”
ONR leaders say that’s important to the nation, the Navy and naval STEM programs, which are coordinated within ONR. The focus of naval STEM is not only to support the development of future scientists and engineers, but also continue the advancement and training of the current naval workforce.
Submarine design and competition fits nicely into those goals, say officials.
“ISR is a fantastic event that brings students and naval personnel together at an active military installation,” said Dr. Michael Simpson, director of education and workforce for ONR.
The ISR race saw 25 teams from around the globe compete for various cash prizes. This year's overall performance winner went to team OMER 9, from Ecole de Technologie Superieure, in Montreal, Canada. The University of Warwick, from Coventry, United Kingdom, won the award for innovation for their sub HPS GODIVA. WASUB 5, from the Netherlands Delft University of Technology, came away with the absolute speed award, and a new world record for a one-person propeller submarine at 7.42 knots.
Other competing teams included: Springstead High School; Florida Atlantic University; Central High School; Old Saybrook High School; Sussex County Technical School; Kids Into Discovering Science, a nonprofit organization; Texas A&M; University of Michigan; University of Washington and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Universidad Veracruzana; University of British Columbia; Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal; Inholland University of Applied Science; Higher College of Technology Abu Dhabi; Rhein-Waal University of Applied Science; Sultan Quaboos University; University of Auckland; University of Southhampton; University of Bath; Newcastle University; and Plymouth University.
Office of Naval Research
The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research 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, 55 countries, 634 institutions of higher learning and nonprofit institutions, and more than 960 industry partners. ONR, through its commands, including headquarters, ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., employs more than 3,800 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.