NEPTUNE enters Phase II of veteran engagement, energy innovation

Soldiers saluting at sunset

Designed to break new ground in alternative energy; increase educational opportunities for the military community; and bolster science, technology, engineering and mathematics outreach, the Department of the Navy and the Office of Naval Research have launched the Naval Enterprise Partnership Teaming with Universities for National Excellence initiative, or NEPTUNE.

NEPTUNE has just entered its second iteration, growing to a $3 million, three-year program providing funding to four universities – Arizona State, Purdue, MIT and UC Davis – in addition to the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. Its goals are to help the Navy and Marine Corps discover ways to improve energy conservation, generate renewable energy and implement energy-efficient technologies while giving active-duty military, military students and veterans the chance to immerse themselves in university-level research.

The ASU LightWorks initiative, research faculty and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center will work together to reach the more than 4,500 veterans enrolled at ASU, as well as military personnel from local bases. Veteran students participate in interdisciplinary internships, independent-study courses, co-authorship of publications, skill-building boot-camps resulting in professional certificates and other resume-building experiences.

Participants will also build their career networks through corporate mentorships guided by ASU principle investigators. Engagement will include critical skills training in entrepreneurship, project management, leadership, technology-to-market and engineering problem-solving.