ECBC Wins 2013 George Linsteadt Award for Execellence in Technology Transfer
December 4, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) was awarded the 2013 George Linsteadt Technology Transfer (T2) Achievement Award on Dec. 3 for demonstrating significant accomplishments to the Department of Defense (DoD) Technology Transfer Program. John Fischer, Ph.D., director of Defense Laboratories Enterprise for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering presented the award to Dhirajlal Parekh, ECBC's Office of Research and Technology Applications (ORTA).
Since holding the position in 2005, Parekh has launched a wide range of internal outreach programs that encouraged ECBC researchers to view their inventions as intellectual property in need of a commercial partner. The result has been the successful commercialization and fielding of ECBC technologies. The award is named in honor of Linsteadt, one of the most prolific directors for ORTA from the 1980s and is considered the pinnacle of success within the DoD for transitioning technologies.
"ECBC is an Army Center of Excellence for technology transfer, as demonstrated by the number of collaborative efforts and the recognition bestowed by George Linsteadt Award," said Stephen Cohn, Director for International Science and Technology Programs/Technology Transfer for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Research & Technology).
A group of ORTAs from numerous government organizations recommended ECBC for the honor. The award recognizes ECBC's outstanding contributions made to the T2 process, which resulted in mutually beneficial partnerships with federal and state agencies, private industry and academia. A record breaking number of 105 agreements were executed in fiscal year 2012 (FY12), of which 65 were new cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) and technology support agreements (TSAs).
"It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the Department of Defense for our efforts in technology transfer," said ECBC Director Joseph D. Wienand. "During a time of declining federal budgets, technology transfer is more important than ever, allowing ECBC to capitalize on our vast research and development infrastructure to establish mutually beneficial partnerships that stimulate the economy and further our mission in chemical and biological defense."
ECBC has furthered DoD defense efforts by providing lifecycle science, engineering and operations solutions for countering chemical and biological (CB) threats to U.S. forces and the nation. ECBC has accomplished this by consistently leveraging the speed and agility of industry to transition Army-developed technology directly to the Warfighter and first responders. In addition to CRADAs and TSAs, other principal T2 mechanisms include patent license agreements (PLA) as well as agreements with other government agencies such as interagency agreements (IAA), memorandum of agreement (MOA) and memorandum of understanding (MOU). These mechanisms enable ECBC, industry and federal partners to leverage their expertise and resources in order to reduce the time it takes to field a product to the end user -- the Warfighter.
ECBC also set records in FY12 for intellectual property protection, with 24 invention disclosures, 20 patent applications, four provisional patent applications and 17 issued patents. Other agreements executed in FY12 included one PLA, two joint ownership agreements and 39 agreements with other government agencies.
"The George Linsteadt Award is a true center-wide achievement that reflects upon the dedication our researchers, scientists and engineers have to solving some of the most complex problems in the CB arena," said Parekh. "The commitment to refine and develop innovative technologies for a variety of real world applications in both military and civilian capacities has been seconded only by our Technology Transfer Office, which has been active in outreach, commercialization efforts and teamwork and leadership."
Parekh led one of ECBC's most notable T2 efforts for the Tactical Biological (TAC-BIO) detector, which identifies biological threats and has recently advanced into a next generation detector that is weatherproof and uses enhanced detection algorithms to reduce false alarms. ECBC advanced existing technology to reduce costs by 80 percent, save production time and use a power source that is more energy efficient. As a result, the TAC-BIO II detector was developed and weighs three times less than its predecessor, which was licensed to General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products in 2009; to Research International, Inc. in 2010; and Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions in late 2012. That same year, ECBC was awarded the 2012 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Excellence in Technology Transfer.
"Our focus is to know what industry is looking for and industry's main focus is to see what the government is looking for. These partnerships reduce the duplication of efforts and spending money, and also promote many small businesses to be bold in America--a lot of small businesses take part in technology transfer agreements with ECBC. We have the unique capability with one-of-a-kind laboratories and technologies to safely and securely test prototypes against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) material," said Parekh.
In addition to the Warfighter, first responders and hospitals may someday be the end-users as a result of this technology transfer. It would enable them to treat a person suffering from an unknown illness in their ambulance or emergency room with the help of a TAC-BIO II detector that could alert emergency personnel to don personnel protective equipment to prevent exposure while treating the patient. The detectors could also be used in school systems to alert students, teachers and faculty to a potential threat and give them enough time to seek a safe place outside of a dangerous environment.
Innovative technologies such as TAC-BIO II have helped the U.S. Army for the first time become one of the Top 100 Global Innovators in 2012, as recognized by Thomson Reuters, for its significant investment in innovative efforts strongly focused on natural security. Thomson Reuters utilized a set of four criteria: Success, patents awarded versus patent applications; Global, the number of inventions that have quadrilateral patents (from the U.S., European, Japanese and Chinese patent offices); Influence, the numbers of times a patent or invention was cited over the last five years; and Volume, organizations that had 100 or more innovative patents in the last three years.
In 2012, ECBC was awarded 20 patents; 16 of those were awarded to scientists in ECBC's Research & Technology (R&T) Directorate. R&T scientists and researchers continue to be recognized for groundbreaking research in fields such as decontamination, chemical and biological agent detection and the safe handling of chemical agents. In total, the U.S. Army had 436 published inventions, with 327 awarded with a patent. Strong contributors to this number were named the "Top 20 Inventors for the U.S. Army 2009-2011," featuring two of ECBC's own: Jose-Luis Sagripanti, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist for Biochemistry, and George Wagner, Ph.D., a member of the CB Protection and Decontamination Division. During that time, Sagripanti received seven patents, and Wagner received five.
The 2011 Presidential Memorandum for Accelerating Technology Transfer and Commercialization of Federal Research in Support of High-Growth Businesses provided an incentive for innovation in government. According to Parekh, it was the catalyst that drove ECBC to actively engage with both the internal workforce and external stakeholders. A few months after the memorandum challenged federal laboratories to accelerate their transfer of technology to other institutions in order to improve economic growth and global competitiveness of U.S. industries, ECBC partnered with Allied Minds Federal Innovations (AMFI), Inc., in April 2012.
The partnership was among the first to directly respond to the memorandum and enabled AMFI to leverage technologies from ECBC's intellectual property portfolio for multiple commercial applications. The agreement broke away from the traditional model where government agencies connected to private companies could only develop a single product or service. Since then ECBC has led the way in T2 agreements designed to create start-up businesses or multi-use products or services. The George Linsteadt Award is a reflection of ECBC's collaborative spirit, CB expertise and culture of innovation.
ECBC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.