Finalists will receive support for R&D (Research and Development) activities and in obtaining public funding.

Four projects presented by teams from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH), the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), and the Universidad de Concepción (UdeC) are participating in the final stage of the Proa l+D Program, which seeks to promote applied research using the Chilean Navy‘s testing, piloting, and project validation capabilities.

The Chilean Navy is present throughout the national territory and in various areas of work activity. Therefore, it is of great interest for the institution to address problems, opportunities, or challenges that are relevant to it and that may encompass various areas of knowledge.

The program, which is carried out in conjunction with Know Hub Chile, aims to collaborate with people engaged in research, providing them with the necessary spaces to carry out their work that is of mutual interest. By exploring new horizons, PROA I+D fosters an environment of innovation and progress that will benefit not only the Navy, but society as a whole.

Proa I+D aims to support scientific and technological research projects that have a background that supports a hypothesis of application of a technology, product, or service, and that, with the development of the research, obtain its validation through a proof of concept, model, or prototype evaluated in laboratory or small-scale conditions within two years.

Selected Projects

According to Know Hub Chile, Proa l+D carried out its first stage, which comprises the identification and selection of proposals of institutional interest or potential development in this area. In this stage, 10 teams were selected. In the second stage, the support of institutional spaces and the discovery of the customer were carried out. In this stage, the relevance of the problem or challenge to be addressed was validated and the necessary spaces to carry out the proposed research and applied development were identified and explored.

The teams are currently in the third stage of applying for financing. They are working together with the Chilean Navy and Know Hub Chile to define the application model for the available competitive funds. Finally, in the fourth stage of implementation of the R&D project, if a project is awarded, it will be implemented as agreed in the application.

The first selected project is Navy Fuel Cells: Study of the Performance of a PEM Fuel Cell in Marine Environments for Electric Power Supply of Ships and Submarines of the Chilean Navy, a project by the Universidad de Santiago de Chile, led by Isaac Díaz.

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) participates in the finals with two research projects: Hydrophones for Ship Detection (Hydrophore), led by Federico Fuentes, and New Technology for Systems Oxygenation, led by Flavia Zacconi.

The fourth project of the Proa l+D programis Development of an In-Lab Evaluation System to Determine the Performance of Systems Exposed to Marine Fouling, by Universidad de Concepción, led by Felipe Montoya.

High Level of the Participants

Jovanka Trebotich, Innovation Coordinator at Know Hub Chile, highlights the diversity of research and the high level of the teams that participated in the PROA I+D program, “which shows that national researchers are interested in instances such as PROA I+D, and that the Navy is part of the R&D&I ecosystem.”

Cristian Faúndez, Lieutenant Commander in charge of the PROA I+D program, affirms that this initiative has allowed the Chilean Navy to learn about various projects led by researchers from academic institutions and research centers, whose proposals related to the maritime field allow them to find areas of common interest and to “collaborate in the development of lines of research through the experience and knowledge of our naval personnel, as well as providing institutional spaces for testing, trials, and validation.”

Trebotich explains that Know Hub Chile conducted a Bootcamp with the 10 selected teams, where they were taught about customer discovery, which they applied in the second stage. Subsequently, follow-up sessions were held with the 10 teams.

Joint Work

Captain Faúndez explains that during the first two stages of Proa I+D, they accompanied the research teams, participating in activities that have allowed them to get to know the institution from a different perspective.

“This has allowed them to interact with Navy specialists related to their research proposals through visits, meetings, and interviews, enabling the teams to compare information to continue advancing in the development of these initiatives,” he stresses.

Currently, during this third stage, “our task is to continue supporting and accompanying them in the development of their research, working together with the researchers,” affirms Captain Faúndez.

This first version of PROA I+D is a pilot project, adds Trebotich, “so we are waiting for the results of the applications for funding so that we can repeat this experience in future years and for other funding opportunities.” The goal is to boost research and development, fostering systematic collaboration between the Defense sector and the STKI ecosystem.