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Government Resources, the Missed Opportunity for Innovation

Government resources can be an innovation game changer 

Government resources intended to subsidize innovation remain unleveraged by many companies. Available resources include the National Network for Manufacturing (Manufacturing USA) institutes, US Small Business Administration (SBIR) and it's University counterpart, the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), and Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) programs. Researchers are hungry for the most basic requirements. Government representatives can be overwhelmed with the variation in technology and manufacturing readiness levels (TRLs and MRLs) where the size of the company doesn't always scale with technology maturity. At the same time, companies are looking beyond organic growth alone for innovation and can be reluctant to deviate from their legacy manufacturing processes. The solution is to partner and pursue government resources promoting requirement exchange, evaluation of technologies against customer needs, while leveraging of government-subsidized manufacturing for scale-up. Dr. Duenas will discuss her NextGen Aeronautics SBIR research with DARPA and the Air Force that resulted in a patent and the transition of the technology onto aircraft platforms as an example of leveraging government resources for innovation and other successes. Small companies will want to consider an SBIR partnership. Every company, large and small, can consider partnering with local universities to pursue STTRs. Every manufacturing company will benefit from engaging an NNMI. These collaborative efforts will result in technologies that were pulled into product rather than pushed into the "valley of death." Another valuable outcome of these partnerships is the training of our local STEM pipeline within the innovative ecosystem itself.

About the Speaker

Terrisa Duenas, Ph.D. has worked with smart material systems and electronic devices for 25 years. Her technical experiences include work on electromagnetics, MEMS, nanodevices, and infrared detectors. 

Prior to being ITW Opto Diode's Chief Scientist, she held positions at NextGen Aeronautics where she managed the SBIR and BAA research and development of materials, devices, antennas, and prototypes for aerospace and space applications for the Army, Air Force, DARPA, DOE, MDA, NASA, and the Navy. Dr. Duenas also served as NanoInk’s PI for a joint Moletronics DARPA program and led a German BMBF collaboration with Max Planck CAESAR, Infineon and Jülich to develop nanosensors for automobiles. Dr. Duenas is presently Principal Investigator for two recently awarded Army SBIRs.