Navy: UMass Lowell to host 2019 FST

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 31, 2019

The Department of the Navy (DoN) Forum for SBIR/STTR Transition (FST) will be held April 10-11, 2019 at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Mass., co-hosted by the UMass Lowell Research Institute (UML RI).

Lowell’s heart and soul is innovation. It’s a city where some of the first major textile mills opened in the mid-1800s, triggering America’s industrial revolution.  Today Lowell is situated in one of the nation’s largest technology clusters.  

UML RI, located near Hanscom AFB in Lincoln, Mass., is emerging as a leader in bridging the gap between research and solutions that change people’s lives and provide world-class, cutting-edge technology to our warfighters.

“This is a significant area for technology and innovation,” said Matthew McSwain, UML RI’s executive director.  “There are number of high-tech companies in Massachusetts and throughout New England that draw upon the many universities in the area.  There are defense technology clusters in the region, supporting all of the warfighting domains, as well as a growing number of small businesses and startups.  The proximity to major defense installations, and the presence of the top defense contractors, encourage collaboration and innovation.”

To assist with drawing major defense contractors to the FST, the DoN SBIR Program Office has scheduled the annual SRIR Prime Summit for the two days preceding the FST (April 8-9 April).

According to the Department of the Navy’s SBIR Program Director Bob Smith, the goal of the FST is to introduce innovative SBIR-funded technologies to industry, small companies, investors, potential partners, government program managers and acquisition professionals and prime contractors.

“Moving the FST outside the Washington, D.C., area is a bold step, but represents a new opportunity,” Smith said.  “And isn’t that is the hallmark of SBIR?”

UML RI has close ties with the Army’s Natick Laboratories, and  Hanscom AFB, which hosts the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and supports the Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) MIT Lincoln Laboratory and MITRE.  In partnership with MITRE, the state has also established the Massachusetts Innovation Bridge to connect local businesses, nonprofits, and academic institutions with federal opportunities.

UML is home to the Printed Electronics Research Collaborative (PERC) is a strategic partnership between industry, university and government. Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company and UMass Lowell have established the Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute (RURI), a joint research facility focused on the advancement of innovative technologies including flexible and printed electronics.

Attendees at the FST can learn about the UMass SBIR Center of Excellence (COE), which assists small companies in entering and succeeding in the SBIR process.  The SBIR COE can provide consulting services to overcome any barriers to entry, but also to reduce the cost of access to IT services, technology assistance, and manufacturing and management consulting.

“We have everything an SBIR company would need, from concept inception to full commercialization,” McSwain said.  “Because we have a grant from DoD, access to our consulting service is available at a reduced rate.  We want to keep the threshold for those small businesses with brilliant ideas as low as possible.”

McSwain said the FST at UML will provide small companies with access to primes, program managers and procurement professionals.  “We’ll have PEOs, and senior level acquisition professionals, along with that all important transactional layer of GS-14s and 15s.  There will be directors of SBIR programs from government and the large primes.”

“We want to facilitate setting up meetings and sidebar discussions with the small business that come here and the FFRDCs, primes, and other tech companies,” said McSwain.  “The FST is an ideal venue to do that.”
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