Tech Transfer — In Reverse

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May 16, 2018 | Originally published by Date Line: May 16 on

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A national Air Force initiative to partner with the best and brightest business innovators on new technologies has touched down in New Mexico.

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base signed a three-year, $750,000 contract in April with the Albuquerque-based ABQid business accelerator to help build collaborative relations with private companies working on new technologies of use to both the Air Force and the open market.

The partnership could turn technology transfer on its head by creating paths for companies building commercial products to introduce them to the military, rather than the traditional push to find new markets for government technologies originally developed for defense purposes, said ABQid Executive Director T.J. Cook.

“Traditional technology transfer is about getting ideas out of the AFRL and into the marketplace, but this is the other way around,” Cook said. “We want to build AFRL awareness about new, privately-built technologies that the Air Force could benefit from and acquire.”

It’s part of a fresh, national effort by the Air Force and other defense-related agencies to more rapidly develop and acquire technologies that improve military capabilities, said AFRL Technology Engagement Office Director Matt Fetrow.

“There’s a huge trend in the Air Force to accelerate innovation, and we recognize that folks in the community have amazing technologies,” Fetrow said. “We want to find novel ways to tap into that.”