Technology Transfer Conference Helps Expands the Advantage

Story Number: NNS191126-05Release Date: 11/26/2019 8:18:00 AM
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By Nathanael Miller, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport Public Affairs

KEYPORT, Wash. (NNS) -- The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport helped host the annual Technology Transfer (T2) conference supporting the Navy Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA) drive to move Navy-developed technology to the civilian world Nov. 19-21.

Technology transfer is the business of transferring technology originally developed by the Navy to local industry or academia in order to strengthen the U.S. industrial base and support future needs of the Navy and Department of Defense.

Thai Tran, NUWC Division, Keyport’s director of technology transfer, said this is the first time the annual conference was held in the Pacific Northwest. Tran said there are several aspects to the program that benefit the Navy and the nation.

“The emphasis is usually placed on the transfer of Navy-developed technology to commercial enterprises,” Tran said. “However, another aspect of technology transfer is the transfer and acceptance of commercial off-the-shelf technology for government use in order to reduce the cost of items purchased by the federal government. A final aspect of technology transfer is the development of Dual-Use technology that is planned and specifically developed for dual-use application by the government and the commercial market.”

The T2 conference allows ORTA a chance to meet with partner organizations and work out the multiple issues involved in technology transfer, such as legal considerations. The entire process is seen as a cornerstone to the NavalX effort, an initiative founded by Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition) James Geurts to promote innovation and collaboration between Navy organizations, and between the Navy and civilian industry and academia. Key to leveraging the T2 process are the Tech Bridges, five hubs of innovation in various regions intended to create and sustain an environment in which the Navy and civilian partners can collaborate.

NUWC Division, Keyport was selected as one of the first five Tech Bridges, and anchors the Pacific Northwest. CDR Sam "Chubs" Gray, the NavalX director of Tech Bridges, said NUWC Division, Keyport is poised to significantly impact the NavalX effort by connecting the different parts of the “technology ecosystem” in the region.

“The Tech Bridge here in the Pacific Northwest is connecting to the larger technology ecosystem in the state of Washington, even up into Alaska and down into Oregon, and finding those pockets of innovation that we haven’t tapped into in the past,” said Gray.  “Anytime you bring in new and different processes, or people who have a different take on our problems, you’re just going to have a much better solution at the end.”

Johannes Schonberg, Northwest Tech Bridge Director, said the T2 conference is important because the legal authorities that facilitate technology transfer are the foundation of NUWC Division, Keyport’s function as a Tech Bridge.

“Tech Bridge is a group of three different things. You have to have the tech transfer authority, you have to have the intellectual property attorney and that expertise, and you have to have the engagement side to engage with external civilian industry,” said Schonberg. “We’re trying to be better at aligning these authorities we have in a way that helps industry and non-traditional partners reach into the Navy, and for us to reach outside of our fence and thereby expand the advantage.”

The technology transfer authority is not just critical to the NavalX effort, it is also central to several strategic priorities set by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), NUWC Division, Keyport’s parent command.

Tran said technology transfer supports several key pillars of “Campaign Plan 2.0,” the strategic priorities set by NAVSEA as it seeks to improve warfighting systems while maintaining a culture of affordability. Tran said the T2 conference is critical to advancing the goals of Campaign Plan 2.0.

“The workshop provides a forum to share lessons learned, best practices and strategies among T2 professionals,” Tran said. “Having the conference in the northwest allows Keyport to showcase our capabilities and efforts to advance technology through our own investments and collaborations to the T2 community.”


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