As part of its efforts to nurture new ideas originating from employees, the Navy plans to dole out new “Innovation Awards” next year. 

The awards — recognizing creativity in areas such as data analytics, robotics and 3-D printing — are intended to “ensure every sailor, Marine and civilian understand that we value their innovative ideas and encourage them to contribute” to the Navy’s mission, according to a mid-July Navy memo

The Navy is accepting nominations for the 2015 SECNAV awards until Oct. 31, 2015, and winners are slated to be announced in January 2016, according to the Navy

Awards could be given for technology advances in topics including, among many others: 

Robotics and autonomous systems Data analytics technology, especially those that “improve performance, support decision making or provide meaningful insight to existing processes” Additive manufacturing, often known as 3-D printing, that helps operational forces save cost, expand fleet capabilities, and lead to new war-fighter technology

In addition to scientific and technological ideas, the SECNAV awards include recognition for Navy employees who create an environment that “fosters innovation.” Another category recognizes individuals who have inspired others to think creatively. ​

The SECNAV awards, announced earlier this week, are the second recent effort dedicated to nurturing creativity and new ideas at the Navy. In January 2015, the Navy established Task Force Innovation, a group of special advisers, whose mission was to promote innovation, largely through incentives programs rewarding outside-the-box thinking. 

“This isn’t about creating an innovative workforce,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a press release announcing the creation of the task force. “This…

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