“How can we feed the pipeline?” Mr. Tom Lockhart, (Director, Plans & Programs) at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) asked this question at the 2018 Bench-to-Business Event, hosted by Wright Brothers Institute on November 7. The Air Force knows that getting technology-based capabilities to the warfighter is the key to air superiority, but without the right mechanisms to transition those technologies into real products, capabilities are at risk. The 711th Human Performance Wing (HPW) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base is minimizing the risk by leveraging Air Force Technology Transfer and Transition (T3) mechanisms to build relationships with industry and accelerate the pace of capability delivery.
The Bench-to-Business Event seeks to educate AFRL researchers and industry on T3 opportunities and near-term technical efforts. Technologies from the 711th HPW were showcased to over 130 registrants across industry, academia, AFRL, and the community at large who came to WBI’s 444 2nd Street location to learn more about the Wing’s research initiatives. Dr. Rajesh Naik (Chief Scientist, 711 HPW) and Mr. Tom Lockhart addressed the broader strategic direction of the Wing’s research and AFRL's future needs and capabilities in their keynote speeches, while Lt. Col. Hamblin (Director, Rapid Capability Cell, AFLCMC) highlighted the nearer-term efforts for acquiring and transitioning technology. Additional AFRL speakers included Dr. David Burch (711 HPW/USAFSAM), Dr. Andy McKinley (711 HPW/RH), Capt. Dalton Miller (711 HPW/RH), and Ms. Jennifer Brown (711 HPW/SBIR/STTR) who all covered various aspects of how industry and the research community can participate in the T3 process. Representatives from the private sector also presented, sharing their perspective and best practices on how to better support the mission and T3 needs of the USAF. To broaden the reach of the event, AFRL HQ video streamed the event live via WBI's Facebook page. The videos generated over 140 stories to be created around the posts, reaching over 2,500 people, and drawing over 7,000 views of the videos to-date on Facebook.
WBI hopes to feature a variety of AFRL directorates for future showcase events. To discuss a Bench-to-Business event for your directorate, contact Scott Springer, Director of Collaboration Services at WBI.