For Immediate Release: April 8, 2019
By Warren Duffie, Jr., Office of Naval Research
Bob Smith’s goal for the 2019 Partnering Summit is to build new, more powerful relationships between the U.S. Navy, small businesses and academia—creating a “mosh pit of collaboration.”
“There are companies out there that would make great partners on a defense contract, yet they might not even know each other exist,” said Smith, director of the Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. “The objective is to connect more people within the defense and research ecosystems, in order to deliver technology and capabilities to the warfighter faster and more effectively.
“The question no longer is who gets a piece of the pie but how do we grow the whole pie,” he continued.
The Partnering Summit is one of a trio of outreach events to be held on April 8-11 in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The Navy will host the events through its SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, both located at the Office of Naval Research. SBIR provides the Navy with groundbreaking technology created by small firms—while STTR transitions products developed by both small businesses and research institutions to the Navy and Marine Corps.
The Partnering Summit is co-sponsored by the Navy and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Research Institute. It will occur on Monday, April 8, and Tuesday, April 9, at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.
The summit will offer a setting where the naval acquisition community, government, industry and research organizations can meet to discuss naval priorities, share best practices and learn about partnership opportunities with SBIR and STTR.
Now in its third year, previous versions of the summit mainly targeted small businesses and defense-contracting companies. However, Smith realized it was equally important to reach out to universities and research institutions and include them to the innovation pipeline.
“We want to connect with the next waves of engineers and scientists and tell them about the cutting-edge opportunities within the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Smith. “Additionally, there might be instances where companies, universities or both can partner with each other to craft a very strong proposal to develop a technology—stronger than if they produced the proposal on their own.”
This year’s Partnering Summit also is part of a new naval effort to deliver capabilities to warfighters faster by expanding relationships with regional technology hubs.
This week’s events will showcase the New England regional technology corridor, known for its prominent academic institutions, research centers, laboratories and science- and defense-focused companies. Future events will target other innovation hubs nationwide.
“These events used to be held in the Washington, D.C., area and everyone would have to come here,” said Smith. “The new thinking is about getting out of D.C. and going to the places where people are doing the actual research and work.”
“At the end of the day, everything is about the warfighter,” he continued. “This Partnering Summit will help foster collaboration to enhance the innovation network and pipeline, and accelerate the delivery of needed technologies to the Navy and Marine Corps.”
Learn more about the Partnering Summit at https://www.onlineregistrationcenter.com/SBIRSTTR.
Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.
About the Office of Naval Research
The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 55 countries, 634 institutions of higher learning and nonprofit institutions, and more than 960 industry partners. ONR, through its commands, including headquarters, ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., employs more than 3,800 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.