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NAVSEA hosts Small Business Innovators Virtually

By Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communication | Feb. 5, 2021

WASHINGTON – Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program office hosted its first virtual forum for SBIR/STTR Transition (FST) online Jan. 27-28.

The SBIR/STTR program funds science and technology projects through small business research, development, and innovation to enhance Navy warfighting capabilities. The FST mobilizes government, industry and academic innovators, connecting SBIR/STTR-funded technologies with warfighters, government acquisition and technical personnel, large prime contractors, system integrators, and other potential transition partners.

“There was some uncertainty about moving FST to a virtual environment and some technical hurdles to overcome, but I was pleasantly surprised by the number of contacts and conversations we had,” said Dean Putnam, NAVSEA SBIR/STTR program manager and one of the event’s primary speakers. “In the end, the event enabled our small business community innovators to make many key connections with our Navy acquisition team.”

This year, thirty SBIR/STTR Phase II small businesses used the event’s virtual capabilities to showcase their innovative technologies in advanced electronics, air platforms, autonomy, C4I, electronic warfare, energy & power, engineered resilient systems, ground & sea platforms, sensors and weapons.

The Navy's SBIR/STTR program brings solutions to the warfighter at the speed of innovation through a competitive, three-phase process.  This three-phase process includes:

Phase I - A feasibility study to determine the scientific or technical merit of an idea or technology that may provide a solution to the Navy Department’s need or requirement.

Phase II - If the Phase I effort is successful, the firm may compete for Phase II funding, which is a substantial research and development effort. Phase II is typically a demonstration phase in which prototypes are built and tested.

Phase III - This is the goal of most SBIR projects. Although no government SBIR funds are involved, Phase III funding can come from the government and/or private sector. The target is to transition a company's research effort into products, tools or services that can be used in current acquisition efforts.

NAVSEA’s Small Business Director, Anne Bannister, said, “Partnering with small business brings competition, agility, and flexibility.  NAVSEA’s focus continues to be achieving outcomes with urgency—thinking, acting and operating differently and we believe that small businesses play an important role in achieving these outcomes.”

In direct support of NAVSEA’s primary mission priority, Deliver Combat Power: On-Time Delivery of Combat-Ready Ships, Submarines and Systems, Putnam’s team had introduced new approaches to accelerate getting technology to the warfighter. NAVSEA’s FST emphasized a highly successful SBIR Pilot Program, the Navy Accelerator, which introduced broader topics, abbreviated the proposal evaluation process to a remarkable 7 days, and awarded Phase I contracts in under 30 days.

“The SBIR/STTR program has been re-engineered for faster technology development. The program has the ability to insert emerging technology into programs earlier and puts capability into the warfighters’ hands faster,” said Putnam.

For more information visit: https://navyfst.com/.

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