U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command civilian employee Dr. Edward Diehl was awarded the “Technology Transfer Advocate of the Quarter Award” on March 23 as part of the U.S. Department of Defense “Innovators Spotlight Series” quarterly awards ceremony.
Diehl, who currently serves as the Commercialization Officer in USAMRDC’s Office of Research and Technical Applications (otherwise known as the Medical Technology Transfer Office), is credited with developing a new manuscript review process designed to identify new inventions and intellectual property before said manuscripts are disseminated to a national audience. The ultimate goal of the process is to both spot and then secure potential new patents for the Army.
“We’re trying to make sure that the Army gets every invention disclosure it should, and it’s just part of a robust internal marketing program that we’re building,” said Diehl of the honor, which was awarded during a virtual ceremony. “There’s all sorts of things that could be useful that we want to get our hands on.”
The “Innovators Spotlight Series” awards ceremony is hosted by the DOD Office of the Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Research and Technology, and is intended to honor exemplary federal employees in the fields of research and development, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and technology transfer.
Prior to the official adoption of the manuscript review process, Diehl – who has more than 25 years of experience in the field of life science technologies – discerned that scientists who have never disclosed an invention before sometimes have an inventive step that is not obvious. As such, his review process not only allows the Army to identify and then obtain potential patents (along with ensuing legal protection) as early as possible, but it also helps USAMRDC develop a more personal relationship with the larger scientific community. Notably, out of more than 300 manuscripts submitted for review since Diehl launched his internal review effort in late 2019, a total of 70 have been flagged for potential disclosures.
“It isn’t always obvious what the inventive step might be,” said Diehl. “Sometimes they turn into patents, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are processes. Sometimes they’re a new molecule or a new antibody.”
Said Dr. Jagadeesh Pamulapati, Director of the Defense Laboratories Office at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who served as the moderator for the event, “We are always impressed with the dedication of the individuals and the teams nominated for this award.”