Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Research & Sabbatical Leave Program
Naval Research Laboratory

All participants must be U.S. citizens. NRL will not accept Permanent Residents or Dual Citizens as applicants for the ONR Summer Faculty Program.

As the Navy’s full-spectrum corporate laboratory, NRL conducts a broadly based, multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development directed toward maritime applications of new and improved materials; techniques; equipment; systems; ocean, atmospheric, and space sciences; and related technologies. Specific leadership responsibilities and expertise are maintained in the following areas:
  1. Primary in-house research in the physical, engineering, space and environmental sciences;
  2. Broadly based exploratory and advanced development programs in response to identified and anticipated Navy needs;
  3. Broad multidisciplinary support to the Naval Warfare Centers;
  4. Space systems technology, development, and support.
The list below outlines broad fields of NRL research and some of the specific topics NRL is investigating for the benefit of the Naval services and other sponsoring organizations.

Autonomous Systems

Cognitive robotics

Test and evaluation of autonomous systems

Human-system interaction

Swarm behaviors

Power and energy, sensors, and networking and communications for autonomous systems

Device Technology

RF photonics

Fiber sensor devices

Quantum electronics

Power electronic devices

IR sensors

Solid-state devices

Radiation-hardened electronics

Microwave and millimeter-wave components and techniques

Hydrogen masers for GPS

Aperture syntheses

Vacuum electronics

Signature technology

Directed Energy Technology

Laser propagation

High-power microwave sources

Pulsed power

High-energy and chemical lasers

Pulse detonation engines

RAM accelerators

Electronic Warfare

Repeaters/jammers, EO/IR active countermeasures and decoys

Intercept receivers, signal processing, and identification systems

Expendable autonomous vehicles/UAVs

Effectiveness of Naval EW Systems (ENEWS)

Threat and EW systems modeling and simulation

Microwave photonics

Enhanced Maintainability, Reliability, and Survivability Technology


Corrosion monitoring and control

Lubricants and greases

Water additives and cleaners

Fire safety and fire suppression

Laser hardening

Satellite survivability

Missile blast survivability

Environmental Effects on Naval Systems

Meteorological effects on electro-optical system performance

Air quality in confined spaces

Solar and geomagnetic activity

Oceanographic effects on acoustic system performance

Magnetospheric and space plasma effects

Contaminant transport

Structure and variability of the middle atmosphere

Information Technology

Free space photonics communications

Adversarial modeling and exploitation

Artificial intelligence and intelligent autonomy

Communication and networking theory

High assurance computer systems and information security

Information transmission and reception technology

Information management and decision architectures

High performance computers and networking technologies

Marine Geosciences

Geoacoustic and geomagnetic modeling

Marine seismology

Geotechnology/sediment dynamics

Geospatial information systems



Biomolecular engineering

Theory of materials

Mobility fuels/explosives/propellants

Materials processing

Advanced alloy systems

Rapid solidification technology

High-temperature materials

Laser fabrication and processing

Ceramics and composite materials


Thin films and coatings

Structural characterization of materials


Air/sea interaction effects on operations

Data assimilation techniques

Global/regional forecasting

Tactical database development

Meteorological tactical decision aids

Nanoelectronics and Microelectronics

Novel, nanostructure-based sensors

New materials and nano devices


Open-ocean, littoral, polar, and nearshore oceanographic forecasting

Shallow water tactical oceanography

In situ oceanographic sensors and data fusion

Bio-optical and fine-scale physical processes

Waves, tides, and surf prediction

Data assimilation techniques

Remote sensing of in-water environmental parameters using hyperspectral imaging

Plasma Physics

Radiation hydrodynamics

Laser plasma interactions

Pulsed power

Large-area plasma processing

Space plasma simulations

Space Research and Technology

Advanced Space systems

Ionospheric studies

Space sensing applications

Sun-Earth interactions

Space environment astrophysics

Remote sensing of the Earth from space

Satellite communications

Spacecraft design, engineering, and integration

Satellite ground station design

Navigation technology


Mesospheric studies

Surveillance and Sensor Technology

Imaging radars

Target classification/identification

Underwater acoustic propagation, reverberation, and noise

Electromagnetic sensors, gamma ray to RF wavelengths

SQUID for magnetic field detection

Low observables technology

Undersea Technology

Anechoic coatings

Fiber-optic acoustic sensors

Shallow water environmental acoustics and sensor systems

Target reflection, diffraction, and scattering

Unmanned undersea vehicle dynamics

Weapons launch