The Navy Department Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Office co-hosted the Forum for SBIR/STTR Transition (FST) Symposium in Lowell, Massachusetts April 10-11.
The SBIR/STTR program funds science and technology projects through small business research, development and innovation to enhance Navy warfighting capabilities. The FST Symposium mobilizes government, industry and academic innovators by connecting SBIR/STTR-funded technologies with warfighters, government acquisition and technical personnel, large prime contractors, system integrators and other potential transition partners.
The FST Symposium is its 19th year and this year it was relocated from Washington, D.C. and co-hosted for the first time with University of Massachusetts Lowell's Research Institute. This symposium helped create greater academic and corporate partnerships and developed collaborations with technology hubs.
"We continue to look for and try new ways to support accelerating delivery of new technology to the warfighter," said Bob Smith, Navy Department SBIR/STTR program director. "2019 was an exciting year for FST we were able to validate that there is great value in taking FST outside of DC."
Keynote speakers included Navy Rear Adm. David J. Hahn, Chief of Naval Research and director of Innovation, Technology Requirements and Test and Evaluation (OPNAV N94); Dr. Douglas Blake, Office of Naval Research; Emily Harmon, director, Office of Navy Small Business Programs and Bob Smith.
FST featured keynote addresses, Tech Talks by Systems Commands (SYSCOM), Warfare Centers, and Industry, panel discussions and one-on-one networking sessions. Small businesses showcased $250 million innovative technologies developed by Naval SBIR/STTR firms Phase II technologies in interactive booths and presentations.
The Navy's SBIR/STTR program brings solutions to the warfighter at the speed of innovation through a highly competitive three-phase process. This three-phase process includes:
Phase I - Is 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. Please reference Phase II for information regarding the Navy's two-step competitive Phase II process and each SYSCOM's Phase II guidance.
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 SBIR effort into products, tools or services that benefit the Navy acquisition community. One important strength of the SBIR program, is that once a company has received a Phase I award follow-on Phase III awards can be awarded in a non-competitive process since the competitive process took place under Phase I.
SBIR/STTR's FST program supports the NAVSEA Commander's Campaign Plan to Expand the Advantage 2.0 by facilitating innovation and development of new capabilities and accelerating its delivery to the fleet.
Introducing a new approach to accelerate technology to the warfighter, this year's FST highlighted the unveiling of a new SBIR transition initiative: Accelerated Delivery and Acquisition of Prototype Technologies (ADAPT), a new approach to engage non-traditional technology solution providers with Naval needs. Companies with existing technology prototypes can be awarded a Phase II contract without having to go through Phase I process. The Broad Agenecy Announcement for the ADAPT program can be found on https://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir.
"The ADAPT out of cycle Broad Agency Announcement is one example with others being planned," said Smith.
NAVSEA SBIR/STTR program manager, Dean Putnam also discussed accelerating delivery of the technology to warfighter through Phase III contracting.
"Congress has made it easy to award Phase III contracts in order to provide solutions at the speed of technology. Leaveraging this statutory authority granted by Congress with small business innovation helps the Navy conquer urgent priorities," said Putnam. "The FST Symposium provided interactive opportunities for government and business to accelerate the SBIR/STTR transitions."
To improve next year's FST Symposium Smith is seeking for more participation from program offices.
"One key effort we will work on for the 2020 Forum will be to get greater deputy Program manager involvement," said Smith.
The Navy Department has not released the host location of FST 2020.
For more information visit: https://navyfst.com/.
- NAVSEA -