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NEWS | Jan. 30, 2019

NRL Tech Transfer Office Forges Collaboration with Tech Incubator

By Jonathan B. Holloway, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — The Technology Transfer Office at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory forged a strategic partnership with 1776, the nation’s largest network of entrepreneurial incubators, to foster innovative-intellectual exchange and gainful collaborative agreements.

At 1776, promising tech-enabled startups, investors, corporate partners and government agencies in innovation-driven industries, collide in a central location where meaningful exchange between markets, talent and capital take place.

“This partnership will provide NRL scientists with the opportunity to engage with innovators and investors in the private sector,” said Amanda Horansky McKinney, head of NRL’s Technology Transfer Office. “NRL and tech startups are similar in their focus on cutting-edge technology and innovation, but an active, ongoing dialogue between our communities hasn’t yet existed.”

Gaining early visibility of new technology-driven markets can help NRL researchers understand the culture, mindset and tools tech startups use to think differently about the future — an advantage that can be leveraged in developing future naval capabilities.

“The current pilot program will last for one year and will provide a new perspective of the innovation ecosystem and more opportunities for collaborative research, and other partnerships, that we may not have otherwise,” said McKinney.

NRL’s strategic partnership with 1776 offers access to new tech companies who see problems through a different lens and create new solutions — offering insight into new networks of innovators.

To navigate government-dominated markets, 1776 intentionally chose to locate their first two campuses in the Greater Washington Metropolitan region. This strategic move has enabled the firm to search for avenues that can drive massive scale revenue and forge proprietary connections like that with NRL.

Jennifer Maher, chief executive officer of 1776, is confident that partnerships like this will provide resolution for challenges facing the world today.

“Our world is facing daunting challenges requiring solutions from collaborative and strategic partnerships and we are excited to pair our entrepreneur ingenuity and expertise in commercialization with the research and intellectual rigor from the NRL,” said Maher.

According to Maher, profitability will be an attribute of NRL’s return on investment resulting from this partnership.

“We are hopeful that this partnership will accelerate the transfer of knowledge into solutions and profit at much higher rates,” said Maher.

1776 also offers professional settings and space outside of NRL’s gates for meetings and aligns with the objective of producing collaboration on all fronts, such as the recent Innovation Discovery Event (IDE) for NRL on Nov. 28, 2018.

During the IDE, four NRL researchers presented to a panel of private and public, research and development professionals, with representatives from the Office of Secretary of Defense, while private-industry leaders provided viable feedback.

For more information about NRL’s strategic partnership with 1776 contact the NRL Technology Transfer Office at or 202-767-7230.

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