U.S. Navy International Science Challenge Global-X Awards Over $1 Million

The International Global-X Challenge, launched in April by the Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global), has selected four winning projects that will demonstrate revolutionary capabilities for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, commercial marketplace and the public.

The awards, totaling over $1.1 million, fall under two challenge areas. The selected international teams of researchers will have nine-months to demonstrate that their concepts successfully meet objectives.

Global-X Challenge is designed to discover, disrupt and ultimately provide a catalyst for development and delivery of new capabilities. Following successful concept demonstration by the four winning teams in June 2021, ONR Global may support an additional nine months of research, while transition partners prepare to implement technology maturation for insertion into the fleet.

“We are very excited about the level of interest generated by this initial stage of the first-ever edition of Global-X,” said ONR Global’s executive officer, Capt. Matthew Farr. “We received groundbreaking proposals from all around the world—highly capable ideas with the potential to deliver value throughout the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. “We expect great things from the teams we selected for the next phase of capability demonstration.”

After evaluating 11 full proposals—chosen from 385 highly competitive white papers from 33 different countries—ONR Global selected four teams, with members from Australia, Denmark, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Under the challenge topic “Multifunctional Maritime Films for Persistent and Survivable Platforms and Warfighters,” Dr. Nick Aldred, University of Essex, and his team will demonstrate a sample biofilm that will resist biofouling with the goal of eventually replacing traditional hull coatings.

The concepts of the remaining three winning teams address the challenge topic “Object Detection and Identification in any Medium.” Dr. Brant Gibson, RMIT University, and his team will demonstrate a robust quantum-limited diamond-fiber magnetometer that may achieve nanotesla sensitivity for long-term, wide area maritime surveillance.

At the same time, Dr. Teuta Pilizota, University of Edinburgh, and her team will explore whether a self-sustained electrical bio-chip can detect flow and small traces of chemicals.

Finally, Professor Gregory Cohen, Western Sydney University, and his team will demonstrate neuromorphic event-based sensors that can quickly detect submerged vehicles and objects—and enable celestial navigation without breaking the water surface.

ONR Global’s technical director, Dr. Rhett Jefferies, stated, “Global-X has already stimulated novel, high-risk multidisciplinary research ideas with both military and commercial value and that may address current and future U.S. Navy and Marine Corps technology needs. We are confident the winning projects we selected will provide a glimpse of new capabilities, forever changing how we operate.”

More information can be found on the Global-X website: https://www.onr.navy.mil/Global-X

ONR Global sponsors scientific efforts outside of the U.S., working with scientists and partners worldwide to discover and advance naval capabilities.