• Tech From Sea to Space: Inside T2 at the Navy With Paige George

    When someone tells you about their job, it often reveals much more about them than just their daily tasks. Paige George is one of those individuals whose career story is as fascinating as her work itself. 

    Starting as a high school intern for the Navy, Paige's journey took her from being a mechanical engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NAVSEA) in Panama City, Florida—where cutting-edge technology is developed for both sea and space—to her current role as the tech transfer manager at the same division. 

    Her passion for technology transfer, a field she discovered after several years in engineering, perfectly aligns with her natural curiosity and interests. Beyond her role at NAVSEA, Paige serves as a Board member and committee Chair for the Federal Lab Consortium (FLC), where she focuses on fostering connections between government and industry within the innovation ecosystem.

    Paige's enthusiasm and dedication to her mission are truly inspiring. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.


    In This Episode:

    [02:35] Paige worked for the Navy as an intern in high school. After getting her engineering degree, she began designing systems for divers. All military divers go through the dive School in Panama City.

    [03:15] She spent over a decade working in diving and utilized cooperative research in development agreements to get critical technology into the Navy.

    [03:35] She came into the Navy under the Smart Scholarship Program. 

    [04:41] Learning and the ability to ask questions connects a lot of T2 people. Through curiosity we learn the language of the different organizations and offices.

    [05:04] As the T2 manager, it's Paige's job to support the researchers getting from point A to point B. She handles the agreements and makes sure that everything is legal, safe, and follows the agreements.

    [05:48] Paige shares technology at Panama City from seabed to space. They handle landing craft air cushion which is like a giant hovercraft. They work in various underwater vehicle technology and security systems. The Navy has more planes than the Air Force.

    [07:05] The Navy has a hand in almost every technology used in the military.

    [07:22] Commercialization in the Navy and the DoD includes developing technology that is dual use. They need to quickly get technology from the marketplace into the hands of the war fighters.

    [08:51] There are also a lot of small businesses that have the cutting edge technology that they need. T2 opens the aperture of who they can work with.

    [10:22] Paige talks about the augmented display diving system.

    [14:47] FLC brings the cross collaboration between agencies and laboratories.

    [16:37] Paige is a member of the board at FLC. She tries to use her position on the board and as a way to support her laboratory.

    [21:07] The underwater contact series forced another access point to Federal Laboratories. Sharing virtual platforms has added more access, although you can't replace in person access.

    [23:52] She would like the FLC to continue to grow national partnerships and positions of the T2 professionals.


    Resources: 

    Paige George LinkedIn

    SMART Scholarship

    Naval Sea Systems Command Technology Transfer Office

    26m - Jun 18, 2024
  • The Power of Ecosystems: Entrepreneurs’ Key to Tech Transfer Success with Chris Campbell

    In the realm of tech transfer—and, indeed, in the broader world—relationships are paramount. Establishing new connections unlocks opportunities for collaboration with individuals and their organizations, while also granting access to their extensive network of relationships. This rapidly evolving web of connections forms a robust ecosystem of support, which is vital for startups and tech transfer initiatives.

    Our guest today exemplifies and champions the significance of these ecosystems. Chris Campbell, the CEO and founder of Simpli-Fi Automation, an electronic systems engineering solutions company, is here to share his insights.

    Chris embarked on his entrepreneurial journey during his college years with the creation of Live Wire Entertainment, a record label and studio design and fabrication company. In 2018, he founded Simpli-Fi Automation, which initially thrived until the pandemic disrupted the global landscape. It was during this challenging time that Chris discovered federal tech transfer. Simpli-Fi licensed an innovative technology from NASA known as the electronic nose. To develop the e-nose, Chris has relied heavily on these support ecosystems.

    Today, Chris will discuss his unique journey and this intriguing technology, providing an entrepreneur's perspective on the discovery, navigation, and success within the world of tech transfer.


    In This Episode:

    [02:43] Chris's background began with electrical systems engineering. For 20 years, Chris integrated systems to control and automate everything in a building.

    [04:04] After COVID, they were forced to take a pivot. Brown Venture introduced them to the NASA tech transfer program.

    [05:50] The NASA electronic nose really stood out. It had a sensor with the capability of smell. It could tell the difference between a healthy or an unhealthy state.

    [08:41] Ecosystems are a must. The ecosystem helps with risk mitigation.

    [10:40] Challenges minorities may experience are lack of relationships.

    [12:18] Challenges include having the needed education to unlock the awareness.

    [13:29] TRL technology readiness levels. A scale that measures a Technology's maturity level on a scale from 1 to 9.

    [14:03] Chris talks about how a small business is able to last in the time that it takes to do the additional research to introduce the new technologies.

    [17:13] The ecosystem also introduced Chris to the PTO pro bono program.

    [19:25] They got their commercial license from NASA last year. They've finished design and are now in production. Today is a big day from the iterating process to scale. They are now going into trials.

    [21:11] They partnered with another NASA technology partner that determines pregnancy in cows. 

    [25:05] The technology is new, so they are now focused on validating and gaining credibility.

    [28:17] NIST MEP definition. 

    [29:04] Chris had to build the sensor himself.

    [32:04] We need to bring contributors into the process and expand on our relationships. How do we make a concerted effort to outreach?

    [36:00] The FLC is taking all of the resources that are impossible to find, putting them in one place. We need to get people to go there and look at it with the right perspective of technologies that they can use to further their endeavors.

    [40:10] Chris shares how four minority businesses are building technologies for some of the largest medical companies in the world.  The technology is in the hands of people who will actually take it to market.


    Resources: 

    Christopher Campbell LinkedIn

    Simpli-Fi Automation

    Brown Venture Group


    41m - Jun 4, 2024
  • BIO 2024: Elevating Federal Labs in the Biotech Ecosystem

    In a few weeks, San Diego will host the biotech industry's biggest global event of the year: the Biotechnology Innovation Organization's International Convention, or BIO. This annual conference draws more than 20,000 people from across the biotech ecosystem, including representatives from startups, big pharma companies, government and research organizations, academia and nonprofits.

    In 2023, the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) began hosting shared boothspace with federal labs at BIO, making it easier for the labs to attend the conference, gain visibility and make connections for valuable partnerships. This year, the FLC booths will host representatives from the National Institutes of Health, the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations.

    In this episode, representatives from these organizations will talk about what BIO has to offer, what they have to offer other BIO attendees and how to navigate this massive event.


    In This Episode:

    [02:12] Steve Ferguson NIH. The NIH has participated in BIO before it was even formed. This is a must-have meeting for technology transfer in the Biotech Industry.

    [03:14] At one conference, they are able to see everything from manufacturing to policy issues to everything that impacts their job.

    [04:08] Jamela Mavrakis FLC partnership manager. FLC's presence at BIO offers a cohesive platform for seamless networking opportunities for all of the labs.

    [05:05] The shared space makes it invaluable for agencies to readily access opportunities and facilitate connections.

    [05:44] Steve Ferguson talks about having the opportunity to work with multiple labs. It's more incentive for collaborators to work with Federal labs.

    [06:31] Martin Hindel from NIST talks about how the conference strengthens their relationship with FLC. It gives them an entrance to the larger BIO world to showcase their technologies.

    [07:24] John Kaplan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is also looking forward to networking, sharing technology, and finding companies to collaborate with.

    [08:28] Vladimir Popov from the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research will be manning a booth and moderating a panel discussion to raise visibility of his lab and opportunities in federal tech transfer.

    [10:31] Research well and do your homework and look up the companies you'll be speaking with, create a good description about your lab, and things you would like people to approach you about.

    [12:23] Hawk Tran from NAVREF talks about how amazing it is for the industry world and federal labs to come together, create synergy, and create solutions.


    Resources: 

    Biotechnology Innovation Organization's International Convention (BIO)

    Steven Ferguson National Institutes of Health

    Vladimir Popov Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research

    Martin Hindel National Institute of Standards and Technology

    Hawk Tran National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations

    Federal Laboratory Consortium

    Jamela Mavrakis LinkedIn

    John Kaplan U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    14m - May 21, 2024
  • From Legislation to Innovation: Joe Allen and the Birth of the Bayh-Dole Act

    In the 1970s, the US was falling behind other countries in terms of innovation. However, an accidental discovery coupled with smart regulation put the US back on track to becoming a leading innovator and technology leader. This turnaround is largely attributed to the Bayh-Dole Act, also known as the Patent and Trademark Law Amendments Act. Passed in 1980, this law enables businesses, universities, and nonprofits to own inventions created through federally funded research.

    Implementing this change wasn’t easy and it took time, but smart legislation ultimately prevailed. My guest today is Joe Allen, a man who was at the forefront of the entire process. As a staffer in Senator Birch Bayh’s office, he played a pivotal role in getting the law passed. Now, 44 years later, he continues to defend the policy as the Executive Director of the Bayh-Dole Coalition. 

    Joe shares insights into his career, highlighting how being in the right place at the right time and excelling in his role led to unexpected career advancements. We also gain a behind-the-scenes look into the legislation and voting process. Additionally, we learn why maintaining this law is vital for the advancement of technology and tech transfer.


    In This Episode:


    [01:31] Joe was an English and history major, and he was on a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee before working for Senator Bayh.

    [02:02] He was a research assistant, and he handled correspondence. 

    [03:21] Joe shares how he sat in on a patent meeting and discovered that if there was any federal funding on an invention the patent was taken away from the inventor and the idea was made freely available.

    [04:05] In 1970, Innovation was needed and this was a big problem across the government.

    [04:47] Joe did research and discovered this was a big issue. Senators Bayh and Dole became interested on a bipartisan level.

    [06:23] He ended up staffing this project. 

    [06:58] At first they didn't realize what a big deal it was, but they discovered it was a fundamental policy that was harming America because nothing was coming out of billions of dollars of taxpayer funding.

    [07:08] We were literally giving our research away to our competitors.

    [07:33] For people just starting their careers, you never know when your big break is going to happen and sometimes it's unexpected.

    [07:43] If you're lucky, doing your best can transform your life.

    [08:11] Forty-five years later, Joe is still working on the same issues.

    [08:36] Companies weren't going to fund research in a university or federal laboratory, because the government would take away their patents. This segregated the public and private networks.

    [09:00] Out of 28,000 government inventions less than 5% were licensed.

    [10:53] Senator Bayh had a personal cause, because his wife was going through breast cancer treatment. This was people's lives that mattered.

    [11:53] Challenges included people who truly believed that if the government funds research, it should be available for free.

    [12:27] Universities and small companies were the most harmed by the previous laws.

    [14:51] Amending Bayh-Dole to include big business was going to be the kiss of death.

    [16:20] Joe shares behind the scenes action of getting the bill passed. 

    [20:51] Jimmy Carter signed the act on the last possible day. 

    [21:23] They put the regulations under the Office of Management and Budget, so Norm Lacker could work on it.

    [21:44] The implementing regulations weren't in place until 1982. The whole process was anything but a slam dunk.

    [22:25] The Federal Technology Transfer Act was originally part of Bayh-Dole. 

    [30:15] We should be very optimistic about the future, because this theory works. It's more important than ever for the private sector to partner with Federal Labs and universities.


    Resources: 

    Joseph P. Allen Executive Director of The Bayh-Dole Coalition

    Joseph Allen LinkedIn

    Bayh-Dole Coalition

    Bayh-Dole Coalition Facebook


    34m - Apr 16, 2024
  • The Legacy of Problem-Solving: The Evolution of The FLC With Paul Zielinski

    Welcome to The Transfer Files. This is your insider's look at how federal laboratories bring groundbreaking technologies to market. I'm your host, Andrea Nelson. In every episode, we'll bring you insights and expertise from the expansive world of tech transfer.

    My guest today is Paul Zielinski, the Executive Director of the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), a nationwide network of federal labs that promotes the transfer of government technologies to the marketplace. With over 30 years in science, engineering, and technology transfer, he oversees FLC's operations and collaborates with stakeholders across federal agencies, industry, academia, and government to enhance technology commercialization.

    Holding an MS in Civil/Environmental Engineering and an MBA in Entrepreneurship, his background includes directing the NIST's Technology Partnerships Office and chairing the FLC, with a focus on innovation and collaboration in the dissemination of federal research. As the FLC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Paul and I discuss the consortium's formation, its evolution over the past five decades, and its future direction

    In This Episode:

    [01:37] It's been 50 years since the FLC was formed in 1974. In 1945, Vannevar Bush sent Science The Endless Frontier to President Truman. 

    [02:07] This letter lays out how the laboratory infrastructure that won the war should be converted over to win the peace. It envisioned technology transfer, advancing science, and bringing new technology to the marketplace.

    [03:23] Technology transfer is about completing the mission after the research.

    [04:01] The Department of Defense formed the Defense Laboratory Consortium. It was a group of people with a similar mission.

    [05:01] In 1974, the Department of Defense invited all the other agencies in and the FLC was formed. 

    [06:08] The Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, the Bayh-Dole Act, and the Federal Technology Transfer Act changed and defined what we call tech transfer today. The first one was making tech transfer a mission for the laboratories. 

    [07:32] The Bayh-Dole Act formalizes the authorization for laboratories to manage their intellectual property. They can get patents and trademarks and license products.   [08:32] FTA helps set up public private partnerships or cooperative research and development agreements.

    [09:36] The FLC Awards program recognizes excellence in the field. It also helps motivate people. If you want excellence and an ecosystem for tech transfer to grow, it needs to be recognized.

    [10:55] One of the most prestigious awards is the Harold Metcalf Award. He put his own career on the line to get the consortium finally put into law.

    [11:28] This is the FLC's 50th golden anniversary year. The national meeting is going to be in Dallas, Texas this year. They're also going to focus on where they've been and where they are going.

    [12:45] Paul is a problem solver. He began his career in the army with a biology degree. He then worked in nuclear waste cleanup. The technology didn't exist and they had to create it. This problem solving was how he became involved in tech transfer.

    [15:00] This path also led him to solving problems at the EPA and at the National Institute of Standards and Technology which all led to tech transfer. 

    [16:13] Some of the FLC's major accomplishments of the past decade include the growth. In 2020, the FLC board was realigned. They put promote, educate, and facilitate in the bylaws.

    [17:12] Goals for the FLC in the next 5 to 10 years include expanding what they've already been doing. They are increasing tools and services, and having companies do reverse pitches to know what they are looking for.

    [18:19] A lot of challenges stemmed from COVID. The technology and ability for people to work from home has really changed the world. The downside is losing that personal touch.

    [20:13] The virtual world does offer a lower bar to entry.

    [20:39] The cross agency community is the strength and the greatest part of the FLC.

    [21:55] The excitement of tech transfer is the sense of accomplishment and finding solutions to fill voids and get things done.


    Resources: 

    Paul Zielinski LinkedIn

    Federal Laboratory Consortium

    Science The Endless Frontier

    Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act

    Bayh-Dole Act

    Federal Technology Transfer Act

    The FLC Harold Metcalf Service Award

    23m - Mar 19, 2024
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The Transfer Files: Inside the World of Federal Innovation
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