Student: Tabs New



The Naval Research Program provides an opportunity for students, to identify current and relevant topics within the DoN/DoD that align with your academic interests and meet curriculum requirements, which can be scoped into a thesis/project. Students are invited to participate in the Naval Research Working Group (NRWG) to hear current topics briefed, as well as to meet with Topic Sponsors to discuss and scope a potential research thesis/project. Independent of the NRWG, students are encouraged to browse topics and reach out to the Topic Sponsor of a topic of interest, irrespective of the funding cycle.

Advantages of Participation
  • Engage in research of current DoN/DoD issues which can be directly implemented by the Topic Sponsor Organization.
  • Topic Sponsors are motivated to have the research completed and will work with you to scope the project to fulfill your interest/requirements. Topic Sponsors often have access to the data necessary to complete the project, which allows you to focus on the research.
  • Many of the topics have already been discussed by the Topic Sponsor and NPS Faculty. The Topic Sponsor may help connect you to faculty members already engaged, or who have expressed interest, as you search for thesis/project advisors.
  • You can review topics provided by the Topic Sponsor Organization for your follow-on tour to determine what “difficult issues” they are currently dealing with, and to possibly engage early by researching a topic of relevancy.

Your thesis advisor will be the primary point of contact for initiating a research proposal of a new or current project if you are seeking funding. As a student, many Topic Sponsor Organizations are able to provide funding for travel of the project directly. 

Topic Submission and Review Cycle

Research Topic Submission and Review Cycle

The organization of the NPS NRP is based upon an annual research topic solicitation process that merges Department of Navy research, analysis, and studies requirements with NPS faculty and students who have unique expertise and experience. The NRP Topic Portal facilitates an ongoing collaborative workflow environment for NPS Students, NPS Faculty and Fleet Sponsors to review, submit, discuss, and sponsor NPS NRP topics for potential funding and thesis consideration. Topic review, board consideration for funding and project award is structured around a fiscal year (FY) annual cycle. There is a FY deadline that usually occurs in March/April. However, new topic submissions or resubmission of previously unfunded topics can be done at any time of the year.

NPR Basic Workflow Process Image

Topic Submission {NRWG Input}

Topic Sponsors from the Navy and Marine Corps enter topics in the NRP Topic Portal. Topics may also be entered by NPS faculty and students as well as other DoD partners but must have a Navy/Marine Topic Sponsor established prior to faculty submission of an Initial Research Estimate Form (IREF). Topics will be presented and discussed during the NRWG with NPS faculty and students. When you create a new topic on the NRP Topic Portal you are submitting it for NPS faculty and student research consideration (pending NRP approval) and subsequently, via the (NPS faculty submitted) IREF process, for potential NRP research funding.

Topic Alignment Guidance (TAG): All Topics must be directly aligned with Navy and/or Marine guidance: Derived from CNO Strategic Guidance (CNOG), CNO Navigation Plan, Commandant’s Planning Guidance (CPG), CPG Implementation Plan, Force Design, or Tri-Service Maritime Strategy. Topics outside of this guidance will not be considered for selection and funding.

RDT&E funds used for the NRP are currently categorized as “BA6-RDT&E Management Support” only. Therefore, topics and subsequent IREFs submitted for consideration must be scoped within the BA6 RDT&E category. 


Naval Research Working Group (NRWG)

The NRWG is the primary synchronization and collaboration event for Topic Sponsors, NPS students and faculty to discuss relevant DoD research. The output of the spring event is a completed Initial Research Estimate Form (IREF) for proposed research and funding consideration. 

Independent of the NRWG, NPS faculty and students are encouraged to browse topics and reach out to Topic Sponsors to discuss topics of interest, irrespective to the funding cycle. Some Topic Sponsor organizations may choose to participate in the NPS NRP process to take advantage of the exchanges facilitated between Topic Sponsors and NPS faculty and students. They may then choose to work directly with NPS faculty and/or students to scope a project and provide their own external funding to complete the research.

IREF Submission {NRWG Output}

The NRP IREF is used by eligible NPS faculty to submit a preliminary proposed research Statement of Work (SOW) for NRP research topics. During and following the NRWG, faculty and students work with Topic Sponsors to scope proposed projects, and then submit an IREF for topics they wish to research. RDT&E funds used for the NRP are currently categorized as “BA6-RDT&E Management Support” only (see above). Therefore, IREFs submitted for consideration must be scoped within the BA6 RDT&E category. IREFs are submitted via the NRP Topic Portal by NPS faculty. An immediate supervisor at NPS and the Topic Sponsor POC must approve and sign the IREF for it to be considered at the Navy/marine Corps Topics Research Board (TRB) for potential funding.

IREF Prioritization

Just prior to the TRB, approved IREFs are sent to the sponsoring organization's Topic Sponsor Lead/TRB representative. The Topic Sponsor Lead then coordinates with their organization leadership to internally align and prioritize approved IREFs. During the review and prioritization phase leading up to the TRB, individual Topic Sponsors should coordinate with their TRB Lead to discuss (advocate) the importance of the research and answer any questions the TRB Lead may have. At this time organizations may also choose to co-sponsor a project or move a project to another sponsor as appropriate for the naval mission.

Topic Alignment Guidance (TAG): IREFs will be prioritized primarily based on their topic alignment to the: 38th Commandant’s Planning Guidance (CPG), Climate Action 2030, CNO Navigation Plan 2022, CNO Strategic Guidance (CNOG) 25, CPG Implementation Plan, DoD Digital Engineering Strategy, Force Design 2030, Force Design 2045, Installations and Logistics 2030, NAVPLAN Implementation Framework (NIF), ONR Naval Science and Technology Strategy, Talent Management 2030, Training and Education 2030, the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy and/or other service-level guidance. IREFs not clearly aligned to documented service needs or capability gaps are acceptable but will have lower priority.

Once Topic Sponsor Lead/TRB representatives have completed and returned their prioritizations, the N7 Studies Team and NRP will use the provided prioritization lists to organize all projects into an overall prioritized ranking. The overall ranking will lead the funding decisions at the Topic Review Board (TRB) meeting.

Navy and Marine Corps Topics Review Board (TRB)

The TRB is the Navy/Marine Corps entity for prioritization and approval of research requirements.

The TRB consists of at least one representative from 

NAVY: ASN (RDA), N1, N2/N6, N3/N5, N4, N7, N8, N9, and Fleet Forces Command;


Topics with approved Initial Research Estimate Forms (IREFS) are represented at the TRB by a senior representative of one of these organizations as appropriate. These organizations will represent Topic Sponsors for projects undertaken within the NPS NRP or comprise the majority of Navy/Marine Corps analysis. They will review, validate, prioritize, and recommend assignment of NPS NRP resources to research projects in order to address specific Navy/Marine Corps research requirements. The TRB will verify that proposed research is relevant, not duplicative, tied to Chief of Naval Operations, Chief of Naval Research, Commandant’s Planning Guidance, Marine Corps Science and Technology Objectives, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Planning Guidance, Department of Defense (DOD), Strategic Guidance, other strategic documents or initiatives such as Research Sponsor vision statements.

Detailed Research Topic Proposal & Budget Submission Package

If a proposed IREF is selected as a candidate for funding at the TRB, the faculty researcher (Principal Investigator (PI)) will then be asked to prepare a detailed research topic proposal and budget. The detailed research proposal and budget package is the culmination of iterative discussions with the Topic Sponsor. It provides a definitive agreement of the proposed work between the NRP, the Topic Sponsor and the research PI. RDT&E funds used for the NRP are currently categorized as “BA6-RDT&E Management Support” only. Therefore, proposals submitted for consideration must be scoped within the BA6 RDT&E category. Once a PI has developed the formal research topic and budget proposal, the Topic Sponsor must approve and sign the topic proposal package and the PI must then submit the completed package to the NRP. A fully completed proposal package must be submitted to and approved by the NRP before funds are released to begin research. It is important that PIs, their supervisors, and Topic Sponsors work closely to complete the package in a timely manner. If a PI fails to submit a completed package to the NRP by the deadline, the funding award may be canceled and awarded to an alternate candidate.

Project Execution/Deliverables

In late October initial FY accounts are funded by the NRP, and PIs can begin their research projects. Students assist faculty in the execution of funded research and production of deliverables. Topic Sponsors are responsible for coordinating with faculty PIs and for oversight of the execution of their individual research projects undertaken under the NPS NRP process. PIs are responsible for all project specific deliverables as outlined and approved in their signed research topic proposal as well as for the NRP specific NRP PI Project Deliverables.

Explore Research Topics @NPS

Explore Research Topics @ NPS

Login to the NRP Topic Portal to review current and past sponsored topics or to create a new topic:





Topic Sponsors and their POC information are found within each topic to enable you to make contact directly.

Search Calhoun to explore all past research conducted by students at Naval Postgraduate School.

Calhoun image

This search covers materials produced by NPS researchers, students and administrators, as compiled by the Dudley Knox Library. These materials include published papers, technical reports, M.S. and Ph.D. theses, newsletters and more.

Advanced NPS Archive Search | How to Search Calhoun