Honors Gallery

Ryan Adam Davis: Enhancing VA Tech Transfer to Improve Veterans' Health and Independence

Award: Rookie of the Year

Year: 2021

Award Type: National

Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Research and Development (VA)

Though only in his third year as a technology transfer (T2) professional, Ryan Adam Davis is establishing best practices and rapidly moving life-changing technologies to market in an organization that is just becoming fully engaged in T2. 

As a T2 specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research & Development, Davis consistently performs at a high level. He leads the office in productivity metrics and seamlessly handles additional responsibilities beyond the traditional scope of his T2 role. 

In the past year, Davis executed five exclusive patent licenses that will move VA intellectual property (IP) into the marketplace. Technologies covered by those licenses include a smart bandage, a prosthetic ankle that is adjustable for shoes with different heel heights, a standing wheelchair, an arm cycle ergometer to improve strength and conditioning for bedridden or wheelchair-using individuals, and a hand-held wand with a Bluetooth-enabled camera on its end to allow those at risk for diabetic ulcers to properly examine body parts that are difficult to see. 

While Davis’ efforts directly benefit his 10-state territory and the entire VA T2 community, they don’t end there. 

“Mr. Davis is an outside-the-box thinker who brings a fresh perspective to a vast federal agency established nearly 100 years ago. He uses innovation and creativity to improve Tech Transfer Program outcomes,” said Dr. John Kaplan, director of the VA’s T2 Program.

In addition to maintaining close ties to the 14 affiliates and 13 VA medical centers in his territory, Davis also manages administration of all the IP in the VA patent portfolio, leads coordination with external patent counsel, and conducts internal audits to identify unreported patent disclosures and outstanding royalty payments. He has improved multiple internal business processes, from modifying template agreements and policies to automating routine tasks, reducing administrative workload for the office. 

He leads the office in productivity metrics and seamlessly handles additional responsibilities beyond the traditional scope of his T2 role. 

Using innovation and a creative approach, without reinventing the wheel, Davis championed multiple successful efforts to establish partnerships with groups that have had success aiding other federal labs with their commercialization efforts, including TechLink and FedTech. TechLink is a longtime partner of the Department of Defense (DOD), helping with its marketing efforts, which it now also does for the VA, while FedTech has helped the VA and other labs transition federal inventions into the marketplace via start-up studios and accelerator programs. 

In addition to his regular duties, Davis is leading the VA’s adoption of the first externally facing cloud-based technology transfer portal and database to streamline information sharing and coordination among key internal and external stakeholders. Navigating the VA’s IT infrastructure to obtain the necessary approvals for putting the system into operation has been an enormous task, but one that is expected to be achieved in the spring of 2021.