Image of PLA signing

The inventors of DEVCOM CBC’s VOCkit observe the signing of agreements to leverage that technology into a commercial biological reader. The Center’s T2 and You series of interactive workshops are designed to help researchers engage with external companies to further develop the Center’s intellectual property. Photo by DEVCOM CBC Public Affairs Office

Collaboration Corner: T2 and You–Where Science and Engineering Meets Business

Collaboration Corner: T2 and You–Where Science and Engineering Meets Business

Forensics labs in Maryland and Delaware will take part in project

By Jerilyn Coleman

When we take a call, send a text, snap a picture or even use our GPS systems, we appreciate our cell phone’s capabilities. Have you ever considered the thousands of patents within that one device? Those patents come from research done in federal labs just like the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center and often their initial use is intended for the safety of Soldiers. Leaders in the Center’s Technology Transfer Office understand just how essential intellectual property (IP) can be to the warfighter, and they’re also committed to building strong relationships between scientists, engineers and industry partners. One of the ways they’re working to demonstrate this is through their newest effort, T2 and You: Supporting Warfighter Wins through the Development of Creative Innovation Partnerships.

T2 and You is an educational series of interactive workshops designed to provide education to scientists and engineers in Department of Defense (DoD) laboratories to improve familiarity with engaging and working with external companies.

On June 25, more than 70 industry professionals joined the Center’s Technology Transfer team for the very first T2 and You session. Attendees shared their networking experiences, warfighter wins and how they overcome projects that require knowledge about subject matters they may be unfamiliar with. Gary Evans, Ph.D., executive director of the Defense Technology Commercialization Center (DefTech), and Ken Malone, Ph.D., principal at Early Charm Ventures, were invited to discuss how Technology Transfer can encourage colliding ecosystems to work collaboratively. The session also covered topics about warfighter solutions with dual use and discovering small businesses with capabilities to solve warfighter problems.

The Technology Transfer Office and the Maryland Defense Technology Center (DefTech) are leading by example because this series is a collaborative effort. “We want to be a good partner. We’re working to educate ourselves so that we can partner with others when that’s needed,” said DefTech’s Project Manager, Kimberly Mozingo.

DefTech is a free program of the Maryland Department of Commerce (MDC), funded by the MDC Office of Economic Adjustment Defense Industry Adjustment to support connections between Maryland businesses and their DoD laboratories. DefTech facilitates business partnership opportunities with several labs through patent license agreements, test service agreements and cooperative research and development agreements. Simply put, they seek businesses through the state that could license technology that is developed in the labs and ensure that those businesses can develop a product and bring it to fruition. DefTech then introduces the businesses to people like Amanda Hess, Office of Resource Technology Applications in the Center’s Technology Transfer Office, where they would be connected to experts in the labs to get their technical questions answered. If everyone agrees that the new solution can be turned into a viable product, it could be licensed.

The T2 and You series isn’t the first time the Technology Transfer Office and DefTech have worked together. They’ve been recognized by the Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards program for economic development work in Harford County. Together, they utilized their proximity to advanced defense technology to the region’s advantage, advancing a focused and coordinated effort to foster innovation, build a pipeline of skilled workers, create a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, develop a regional brand and support entrepreneurial activities and commercialization in the area.

Hess hopes T2 and You highlights the opportunity for commercialization and how it can impact the Center’s intellectual property. She explained that, “the series allows both personnel in labs and public sectors to be educated on topics that are not part of their routine or mandatory education.” T2 and You topics will include networking and commercialization of IP. These workshops apply to IP that doesn’t exist yet, that may be undisclosed, disclosed or have provisional patents. However, the series doesn’t just focus on IP. It also sheds light on building integral relationships, education and seeking ways to innovate and engage with small businesses.

Hess knows first-hand the benefits of this work. In nearly a decade, she has spent the majority of her career as a chemical engineer supporting Technology Transfer; focusing on topics like sustainment, acquisition lifecycle, government contracts in the sustainment of fielded military systems, respiratory protection and developing programs that were focused on training military users for protective equipment.

The Technology Transfer Office has a great reputation for excellence and cultivating solutions that positively impact the warfighter by encouraging CRADA. Thus, private businesses can leverage the Army’s research and development, using it to build a final product for their customers. During COVID-19, the Center’s testing capability for the N95 face coverings is being heavily leveraged at the Technology Transfer Office. This is an example of the type of service the office can provide for industry customers. This type of work keeps the Technology Transfer team up to date on relevant equipment.

In the future, the Technology Transfer Office and DefTech want scientists and engineers to view T2 and You as a contact sport so that professionals in the workforce can work collaboratively to understand how the science impacts the business and vice versa. “It’s the beginning of a culture change and it begins with education,” Mozingo said. It is important for the workforce to understand Technology Transfer and be able to navigate all aspects of it, from innovation to commercialization.

To learn more about Technology Transfer or the T2 and You series, contact Amanda Hess via email at amanda.l.hess.civ@mail.mil.

The inventors of DEVCOM CBC’s VOCkit observe the signing of agreements to leverage that technology into a commercial biological reader. The Center’s T2 and You series of interactive workshops are designed to help researchers engage with external companies to further develop the Center’s intellectual property. Photo by DEVCOM CBC Public Affairs Office