Maura Healey and Doug Robbins

MITRE Launches New BlueNERVE Network to Connect Maritime Researchers Across the Country

Improved data access and real-time insights from MITRE’s BlueTech lab and partner labs will accelerate maritime innovation

Photo: MITRE vice president of engineering and prototyping Douglas Robbins greets Gov. Maura Healey at an event in Bedford, Mass., to announce a state grant to connect BlueTech facilities across the state.

McLean, Va., and Bedford, Mass., June 9, 2023 – MITRE will expand access to maritime data and testing resources for government, academic, industry, and not-for-profit maritime technology research organizations with a new network that provides secure, real-time insight.

The global Blue Economy is fast-growing and will only become more important, but there is a high barrier to entry for new technologies and businesses. The BlueNERVE Network will grow local researcher and entrepreneur access to “blue data” to catalyze new discoveries, innovations, and companies.

“The oceans are an invaluable resource tied to many of the nation’s biggest challenges, including national security, climate resilience, and economic growth,” said Douglas Robbins, vice president, engineering and prototyping, MITRE Labs. “This project will foster an attractive innovation ecosystem for BlueTech startup companies, providing a first-in-the-nation data sharing capability and grow the BlueTech workforce to meet the needs of the new Blue Economy."

Built on MITRE’s NERVE technology, BlueNERVE will connect labs across New England—and eventually the country—to enable seamless connection between lab equipment, modeling software, tools, and data. Through the BlueNERVE nodes, researchers in separate physical locations will be able to conduct experiments and access real-time data as if they are co-located.

With BlueNERVE, MITRE is connecting a diverse set of researchers from government, academia, and industry to accelerate innovation through a new collaborative model funded in part by a $2.2 million grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the Healey-Driscoll administration.

“New technologies developed by MITRE and their partners are going to help us combat climate change, preserve our marine resources, grow great-paying jobs, and advance all of our maritime industries,” Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey said at an event to announce the project.

BlueNERVE will connect 11 institutions in Massachusetts and beyond, including:

  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
  • Northeastern University
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Tufts University
  • MassChallenge
  • University of Rhode Island
  • Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport

“Understanding, exploring, and sustaining our oceans is a collaborative effort that cannot be done alone,” said Richard Murray, deputy director, vice president for science and engineering at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “We’re pleased to join MITRE’s BlueNERVE network as we work together to ensure the ongoing health and welfare of the oceans.”

"Access to the BlueNERVE network provides an incredible collaboration opportunity for universities like URI to securely connect their research facilities with experts across government and academia,” said Erik G. Brine, director of defense R&D initiatives and operations at the University of Rhode Island. “This network architecture will accelerate and advance research in a variety of science and technology areas and continue to position our region at the forefront of the global Blue Economy." 

The center of the BlueNERVE network will be MITRE’s new BlueTech Lab in Bedford, Massachusetts, scheduled to open later this year. Built from a converted in-ground cooling tank, the state-of-the-art lab will provide access to convening space and a networked lab facility producing and curating key data sets. The lab’s 620,000-gallon test tank will provide an accessible test facility for MITRE and external research partners. MITRE is working to connect and grow Blue Economy innovation ecosystems around the country. Through advanced capabilities in undersea acoustics, sensing, and autonomy, MITRE works with U.S. government sponsors to ensure resilience in national and economic security.

A key aspect of these partnerships includes fostering next-generation talent. Working with MassRobotics, MITRE will hold a summer BlueTech Academy for Massachusetts high school students. Using a variety of STEM concepts, students will spend a week learning about BlueTech and building a robot that can operate at various depths underwater.


MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world. Through our public-private partnerships and federally funded R&D centers, we work across government and in partnership with industry to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation.

Media Contact: Jordan Graham,