Aug. 20, the Basic Research Innovation and Collaboration Center, a partnership between the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation, hosted a Basic Research Small Business Interchange in Arlington, Va., to provide technology-based small businesses insight into Air Force basic research and government small business processes.
This live-streamed event brought together Department of Defense programmatic and contracting representatives, local business and entrepreneurial resources, and Air Force basic research program officers to present a comprehensive overview of how small businesses fill an important role in transitioning the results of basic research to the commercial marketplace.
While the event was primarily intended to help small businesses understand the business process of working with the Air Force, it was also a call for action. Dr. Robin Staffin, Director for Basic Research in the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering spoke about the difficulty of finding the opportunities to match basic research innovation with appropriate small businesses. He encouraged those in attendance to ask questions, make connections, and attend program reviews, particularly Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative reviews. He explained that these reviews probably best cover the breadth of topics of interest to national defense.
As the morning progressed, the speakers became more targeted on the practical avenues for working with AFOSR. Speakers from AFOSR’s Small Business Technology Transfer and contracting offices discussed announcement details and relevant deadlines for submitting proposals to the organization.
Local experts from the Arlington Economic Development office and the DC Department of Small & Local Business Development also provided tips and resources to help small businesses find, apply for, and win contracts. Both BizLaunch and ConnecTech were mentioned as valuable tools for SBIR/STTR assistance.
The event concluded with presentations and breakout sessions held by AFOSR program officers in AFOSR’s five focus areas. The goals of the afternoon were to provide Air Force-relevant scientific areas where small business opportunities currently exist and to discuss how AFOSR and small businesses can work together to transfer basic research results.
“We are looking for the sweet spot where innovation meets marketability and we need small business to be a part of it,” said Dr. John Schmisseur, AFOSR Chief of Energy, Power & Propulsion. That sentiment was reiterated by his peers, who all spoke of the role of small business in transitioning basic research results for the benefit of the Department of Defense and the nation.
For more information about Air Force small business opportunities, visit the Air Force SBIR/STTR website at http://www.afsbirsttr.com, the BRICC website at http://bricc.vt-arc.org/ or the AFOSR website at www.afosr.af.mil.