Topic Sponsor - Naval Research Program

Topic Sponsors: Tabs New



The Naval Research Program provides an opportunity for you, the Topic Sponsor to identify current and relevant operational issues within your organization which can be scoped into a cost-effective research thesis/project. Topic Sponsors are invited to participate in the spring Naval Research Working Group (NRWG) to brief their current topics, as well as to meet with Faculty to discuss and scope a potential research thesis/project. Independent of the NRWG, Research Topic Sponsors can browse topics and reach out to the Faculty, irrelevant to the funding cycle.

  • Engage in free NPS-funded research regarding your current high priority DoN/DoD research issues which can then be directly funded in follow-on research by your organization if it proves promising.
  • Establish new research relationships with NPS faculty personnel points-of-contact and NPS campus research capabilities.

Topic Sponsors are responsible for coordinating with faculty principal investigators, and NAO for execution of their individual research projects.


  1. Affiliate with a topic sponsor lead (annually) prior to execution of the NRWG through appropriate correspondence with the NPS NRPO.
  2. Submit individual research topics annually via the NPS NRP topics portal; topics should be consistent with the individual organization’s priorities as derived from senior level guidance.
  3. NLT 15 working days prior to NRWG, identify a NRWG topic sponsor representative for each submitted topic and provide contact(s) to NPS NRPO.
  4. Ensure the appropriate topic sponsor representatives from their respective organizations can adequately articulate the research challenges, make decisions for the topic sponsor, and lead breakout discussions as needed.
  5. Arrange for the necessary travel funding for their topic sponsor representative(s) to participate in NRWG.
  6. Provide after action input to the NPS NRP to improve the NRWG process.
  1. Ensure that topic sponsors within their organization utilize Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, and Cost (DOTMLPF-C) construct when scoping research, thesis, or CAPSTONE projects.
  2. Nominate yourself or (preferably) an O-6/GS-15(or equivalent) to represent their organization at the TRB by coordinating with the NPS NRP Office. The TRB Representatives should be a senior member of the organization and knowledgeable of the NPS NRP process and NAO established business rules but he or she does not necessarily need to have been present at the NRWG.
  3. Validate consolidated research priorities from the Navy Analytical Council to ensure that sponsored topics utilize Navy Strategy Plan, CNO’s Planning Guidance, CMC’s Planning Guidance, Navy / Marine Corps Science and Technology Objectives, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Planning Guidance, Department of Defense, Strategic Guidance, or the ONR Science and Technology Campaign Plan, NAO Guidance, or other framing documents/guidance in order to scope the proposed research, theses, or CAPSTONE projects.
  4. Manage your organization’s research, thesis, or CAPSTONE projects that result from the NRWG process.
  5. Track and measure the effectiveness of particular research projects or research/thesis teams.
  6.  Provide board recommendations and the content of the TRB report to their respective topic sponsor(s).
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

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 IREF process, for potential NRP research funding. All Topics must be aligned with Navy and/or Marine mission requirements. RDT&E funds used for the NRP are currently categorized as “BA6-RDT&E Management Support” only (see above). Therefore, topics and subsequent IREFs submitted for consideration must be scoped within the BA6 RDT&E category. Topic Proposals that have already been reviewed by the Requirements Review Board (R3B) or Marine Requirements Overview Council (MROC) will receive higher NRP priority for research. Presence or absence of R3B or MROC approval for a topic is validated by the Research Topic Sponsor.

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 prioritize the 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.

IREFs will be prioritized primarily based on their alignment to the: CNO Navigation Plan 2021, CNO Strategic Guidance (CNOG), CNO-identified Key Operational Problems (KOPs), 38th Commandant’s Planning Guidance (CPG), CPG Implementation Guide, Force Design 2030 and secondarily to organizational need/requirement. IREFs not aligned are still acceptable but will have a lower priority for funding.

N7 Studies Team Review (new process in FY20)

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; MARINE CORPS: HQMC AVN, HQMC DCI, HQMC I&L, HQMC M&RA, HQMC PP&O, HQMC P&R, HQMC CD&I, COMMARFORCOM and MARCORSYSCOM. 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. The TRB will designate NPS NRP research projects with a status of Requirement (of immediate need to the research sponsors), Tabled (requires more project definition), or Cancelled (project being funded by another Naval entity or of no value). 

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 (see above). 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

Between October 15th -30th 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.

Nested Applications
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.

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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.

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Resources and Requirements Review Board (R3B)

The R3B is the Navy’s 3 and 4-star forum for reviewing and making decisions on Navy requirements and resource issues. The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Integration of Capabilities and Resources (CNO (N8)) generally serves as the chairperson. DoN R3B Charter

It serves as the focal point for decision-making regarding Navy and Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)  Acquisition Category (ACAT) I through IV and abbreviated acquisition requirements, as well as: 

-Validates non-acquisition related, emergent, and Joint requirements
-Coordinates service input to Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) processes

-Resolves cross-enterprise or cross-sponsor issues. 

This 3-star level formal board, staffed by Navy Admirals and DoD personnel, is held quarterly or on an as-needed basis to meet high priority Department of the Navy and Marine Corps needs. Presense or absense of R3B or MROC approval for a topic is validated by the Topic Sponsor.

Topic proposals that have already been reviewed by R3B or MROC will receive higher NRP priority for research.


Marine Requirements Overview Council

The MROC is the primary, enterprise-level USMC leadership forum to advise and assist the Commandant of the Marine Corps in the execution of his Title 10 United States Code and Joint Chiefs of Staff responsibilities. MCO5311.6 Advocates and Proponents in the MROC Process

This 3-star level formal board, staffed by Marine Corps Generals and DoD personnel, is held quarterly or on an as-needed basis to meet high priority Department of the Navy and Marine Corps needs. Presense or absense of R3B or MROC approval for a topic is validated by the Topic Sponsor.

Topic proposals that have already been reviewed by R3B or MROC will receive higher NRP priority for research.

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