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Sandia Labs partner with Northrop Grumman, GE

Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:40am

Sandia National Laboratories has signed a pair of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) that could broadly add to the Labs' research into combustion, defense, energy, and nuclear security.

The umbrella CRADAs, which enable Sandia and its partners to pursue multiple projects in a variety of categories, are with Northrop Grumman Information Systems and General Electric Global Research.

"These are strategic agreements that envision long-term partnerships," says Brooke Garcia, a Sandia business development specialist who helped negotiate the CRADAs.

Sandia has had a standard CRADA, which covers a specific scope of work, with Northrop Grumman Information Systems since 2007. Sandia also has CRADAs with the company's Aerospace Systems and Electronic Systems divisions.

"Northrop Grumman is a longtime Sandia partner," Garcia says.

The new Information Systems CRADA covers a wide range of potential research designed to enhance defense systems technologies through collaborative R&D in engineering sciences, modeling and simulation, intelligence systems and infrastructure, and nuclear security. The agreement includes evaluating energy and climate factors domestically and abroad. The primary goal of the collaboration is to improve national security.

"The collaboration so far has been extremely successful," says Alex Tappan, a Sandia researcher who has done Northrop Grumman project work.

Potential research categories included in the CRADA are engineering sciences for defense systems and technologies; modeling and simulation for defense systems and technology; intelligence systems and assessments; energy, climate and infrastructure security; international, homeland, and nuclear security; and advanced manufacturing and technology maturation.

"Northrop Grumman looks forward to many collaborative opportunities and a long and productive working relationship with Sandia," says Eric Sepp, a Northrop Grumman program manager.

The GE agreement replaces a decade-old umbrella CRADA that expired last year. "Rather than extend the old one, we took the opportunity to negotiate an updated agreement that supports current missions as well as mutual goals for future innovation," Garcia says.

The agreement states that Sandia and GE will "cooperatively engage in analytical studies, research and development of a diverse set of energy-related topics with a goal of accelerating the understanding and development of new energy systems required to transition away from a hydrocarbon-based economy to carbon-neutral energy sources."

The scope of the partnership takes in a variety of technical categories including combustion; thermal management; aerodynamics; systems engineering, economic and life-cycle analyses; computational simulations; energy storage; sensors and optical diagnostics; fossil energy; renewable energy; nuclear energy; and advanced materials.

The CRADA helps bolster Sandia's support of DOE research and development aimed at moving the United States toward a new energy economy, Garcia says. The Labs' goal is to ensure a secure and sustainable energy supply, safe and resilient delivery infrastructure, and clean and efficient use of energy resources.

The agreement says Sandia and GE as partners can leverage the Labs' expertise in systems-based science and engineering with GE's skill in energy systems to accelerate understanding and development of new energy systems. GE brings to the collaboration a business-driven perspective to evaluate the likelihood of success or failure of energy alternatives.

"Sandia's robust and broad-based energy program includes a multitude of innovative research and development programs that can be leveraged in pursuit of the goals of the nation and GE," the agreement says.

Source: Sandia National Laboratories

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