T2 News

RDECOM Research Lab Works with Fed Tech to Accelerate Army Technology

Dept. of Defense

Researchers from the RDECOM Research Laboratory are participating in Fed Tech's fall 2018 cohort, where selected entrepreneur applicants are paired with lab partners and inventors to promote technology.

The laboratory has five technologies in this process:

  • Sinara Operating System for Quantum Devices, Dr. Joe Britton, Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate
  • Digital Brain Mobile Diagnostic Technologies, Ashley Eidsmore, Weapons and Materials Research Directorate
  • Deep Ultraviolet Enhanced SiC Avalanche Photodiodes, Dr. Anand Sampath, SEDD
  • Determining and Defending Criticality Surface Assets in Cyber Defense, Dr. Hasan Cam, Computational Information Sciences Directorate
  • Resonant Structures for Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors, Dr. Parvez Uppal, SEDD.

Fed Tech was created in 2013 as part of the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps), a federally funded program designed to promote technology from federal labs to teams of entrepreneurs. The goal is for entrepreneurs to conduct market research regarding the technology or potential use of the technology in a product to meet a market demand.

The market research determines if the technology or product or service formed around the technology is sufficiently viable to launch a start-up company.

"The teams get plenty of help, but they are expected to do a lot of research on their own and conduct interviews with many corporate representatives to gain an understanding of market interest," said Michael D'Onofrio, from RDECOM Research Laboratory's Tech Transfer and Outreach Office. "The end goal of this process is to promote federal technology for potential commercial use, military use or dual use with the hope of bringing it back in to the warfighter more rapidly or at least preventing it from being stuck on the shelf."

The entrepreneurial teams are coached and advised by corporate mentors, and the subject-matter experts from the federal labs also act as technical advisors. They are taken through modules on lean startup, business models, product development, customer discovery, intellectual property and licensing, funding strategies for spinning out research and development, pitch skills and more.

"I strongly suggest [RDECOM Research Laboratory] scientists at some point in their careers to interact with entrepreneurs to understand the "value proposition" concept which their technology represents, to various customers and applications," Uppal said. "This will allow them to think in a different manner, even if that technology cannot be easily spun off into the real world."

Ben Solomon, Fed Tech's founder and managing partner, said he's excited to be working with five RDECOM Research Laboratory technologies during this fall's cohort.

"[The laboratory] has some of the best scientific talent in the world, and our goal is to utilize Fed Tech to transition technologies to the warfighter more quickly," Solomon said. "Our hypothesis is that we can empower this process by connecting [the RDECOM Research Laboratory] to top-tier entrepreneurs. [The laboratory] has really been a terrific partner to Fed Tech and MD5 (Fed Tech's sponsor). We are just getting started and look forward to an amazing next year of results."

Recently, RDECOM Research Laboratory leadership, in an effort to drive cultural change and future success, identified several new core attributes that will be used as part of a laboratory-wide standard for performance. One of these new core attributes is entrepreneurship.

"It is my hope that this cultural change and the new core attributes will encourage the workforce to act and think more like entrepreneurs, seeking out opportunities to exploit innovation and encourage employees to get involved in the Fed Tech process," D'Onofrio said. "Of course, getting the word out is important, too, and my hope is that this article will help in that process as well."

The Tech Transfer and Outreach Office has been sponsoring seminars focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, and encourages as many people as possible to participate in these learning opportunities, he said.

To read the original press release on the ARL website, visit https://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?article=3325.

T2 News