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NEWS | Sept. 23, 2021

NSWC Crane and many regional partners recognized for contributions to regional pitch competition

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) along with multiple regional partners were awarded the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Midwest Regional State and Local Economic Development award for contributions to an entrepreneurial pitch competition.

The purpose of the Crane IP Defense Innovation Pitch Competition, the second year for this regional event, was to create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop early-stage products based on NSWC Crane’s Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio. Participation in the event increased by nearly four times from 2020 to 2021.

Jenna Dix, the Director of Technology Transfer at NSWC Crane, says they leveraged the group’s various expertise and resources to make the event successful.

“This unique group of organizations has collaborated to expand the network of businesses and entrepreneurs that have access to the IP at NSWC Crane,” says Dix. “The pitch competition also creates awareness to the many resources at NSWC Crane like labs and subject matter experts has to offer.”

The partner organizations included Radius Indiana, Elevate Ventures, Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3), The Dimension Mill, the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, and Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC). NSWC Crane is part of FLC, which is a nationwide network of over three hundred federal laboratories, agencies, and research centers that fosters commercialization best practice strategies and opportunities for accelerating federal technologies from labs to the marketplace.

NSWC Crane leveraged existing partners to implement its Rapid Response Licensing initiative that was created to assist economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19. The Technology Transfer (T2) Office at NSWC Crane implemented this licensing program by offering short-term, royalty-free licenses for any technology in their IP portfolio. The T2 Office used its network of partners to share information about the program, with the Crane IP Defense Innovation Pitch Competition leading to The Dimension Mill being a new partner.

Individuals and teams were invited to develop a proposal for one of the many technologies in NSWC Crane’s IP portfolio. Dix says the competition grew in the second year.

“In 2020, NSWC Crane offered ten unique technologies,” says Dix, “but in 2021, contestants could choose any technology from Crane’s entire portfolio of more than three hundred patents.”

NSWC Crane’s Technology Transfer Office was available to meet with participants individually to assist with technology exploration and identifying patented technologies and concepts that meet their needs.  Participants could also receive individual coaching sessions through the resources at Elevate Ventures and ISBDC.

The 2021 Crane IP Defense Innovation Pitch Competition resulted in license applications for four Crane technologies. One patent license agreement and one Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) were executed and an additional license is near completion. The top three participants were awarded over six thousand dollars and offered other incentives to support their commercialization efforts.

Dix says the pitch competition was a great way to drive conversation with entrepreneurs and small businesses in the area that NSWC Crane had not previously engaged.

“In addition to the opportunity for future patent licenses, these individuals and companies are now more aware of the resources of Crane and the tools available for start-ups and small businesses throughout our region,” says Dix. “It is the T2 Office’s hope that these budding relationships will inspire economic growth, create new jobs within our region, and build partnerships for future opportunities.”

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

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