AFRL Information Directorate to Hold “Ask Me Anything” Session on Upcoming BAA

The Air Force Research Laboratory — Information Directorate (AFRL-RI) will hold a virtual “Ask Me Anything” informational session the upcoming AFRL-RI Broad Area Announcement on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

Session attendees will receive an overview of ten BAA topics in pre-release on Wednesday, December 1, an outline of the timeline for proposal submission, and the funding opportunities. Participants will have a chance to ask questions and have them answered live by the topic authors, technical professionals, and a representative of the U.S. Air Force SBIR/STTR office.

Click here to register

Webinar: IBM’s Discovery Accelerator Partnerships

On December 9, 2021 at 1:00 EST, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine – Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable will convene a webinar to discuss the strategic goals and impact of IBM’s Discovery Accelerator Partnerships. Within the last year, IBM announced two significant partnerships that will deploy emerging technologies and advanced capabilities aimed at driving scientific discovery – the first, a ten-year partnership with Cleveland Clinic focused on discoveries in life sciences and healthcare; and the second, a five-year partnership with the United Kingdom’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, based at the Hartree National Center for Digital Innovation, which will drive innovations in life sciences, new materials development, environmental sustainability, and advanced manufacturing.

During this webinar, IBM officials discuss the Discovery Accelerator approach to partnership, collaborative and interdisciplinary research, and the application of emerging computing technologies to supercharge the pace of scientific discovery.

Click here to register

Communicating the Value and Impact of Technology Transfer

The Technology Transfer Society, DC Chapter will be holding an online presentation on how to better communicate the value and impact of technology transfer. A recent article in Issues in Science & Technology entitled Settling for Second Place? by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine and former NSF Directorate Dr. Neal Lane sounded the alarm that America’s world leadership in science and technology is being challenged like never before.

While many focus on basic and applied research investments, technology transfer and commercialization activities — bridging the technology ‘valley of death’ from scientific discovery to commercial product — have become pivotal to capturing the value of R&D at universities, national laboratories and industry labs. Unfortunately, tech transfer efforts are often misunderstood and poorly resourced at many major S&T institutions. The presentation will address how to better communicate the value of these functions to key decisionmakers to help them better understand the growing value of technology transfer beyond patent licensing.

GAO Study: Quantum Computing and Communications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently conducted a study on the future of quantum computing and communications. The authors noted that while some quantum technologies are available for limited uses today, it will likely take at least a decade and cost billions to develop quantum technologies for more complex uses. As part of its assessment, GAO looked at (1) the availability of quantum computing and communications technologies and how they work, (2) potential future applications of such technologies and benefits and drawbacks from their development and use, and (3) factors that could affect technology development and policy options available to help address those factors, enhance benefits, or mitigate drawbacks.

GAO identified four factors that affect quantum technology development and use: (1) collaboration, (2) workforce size and skill, (3) investment, and (4) the supply chain. The study found that the United States led the world in the number of scientific and technical papers in quantum computing with China a close second. China leads in the production of papers in quantum communications.

The full GAO study can be found here.

Workshop: NIST Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing a framework to better manage risks to individuals, organizations, and society associated with artificial intelligence (AI).

The Framework will be developed through a consensus-driven, open, transparent, and collaborative process that will include workshops and other opportunities to provide input. It is intended to build on, align with, and support AI risk management efforts by others.

NIST’s work on the Framework is consistent with its broader AI efforts, recommendations by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, and the Plan for Federal Engagement in AI Standards and Related Tools. Congress has directed NIST to collaborate with the private and public sectors to develop the AI Framework.

The on-going NIST effort aims to foster the development of innovative approaches to address characteristics of trustworthiness including accuracy, explainability and interpretability, reliability, privacy, robustness, safety, security (resilience), and mitigation of unintended and/or harmful bias, as well as of harmful uses. The Framework should consider and encompass principles such as transparency, fairness, and accountability during design, deployment, use, and evaluation of AI technologies and systems. These characteristics and principles are generally considered as contributing to the trustworthiness of AI technologies and systems, products, and services.

A initial virtual workshop to enable expert participation from industry, academia and government will be held on October 19-21.

Investing in Rural Prosperity — New Approaches

Rural communities throughout the United States are vibrant places, with great people, rich culture and heritage, and deep social ties. But recent structural changes to the economy, along with long-term challenges, have left many in these communities at a crossroads, wondering which direction will lead to prosperity for all.

Investing in Rural Prosperity, a forthcoming book from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Federal Reserve Board, seeks to help people living in rural areas navigate the challenges and opportunities they face to reach a future in which economic prosperity is a reality.

Chapter 9 is available in advance on the St. Louis Fed’s website.  It outlines a new framework for fostering shared economic prosperity in rural communities. The authors’ proposed approach to rural development—abbreviated with the acronym “TRIC”—is tailored to the specific goals, assets and organizational infrastructures of communities. It is designed to be resilient in changing circumstances; inclusive about who is at the decision-making table and who benefits from local development; and promotes a collaborative process. The chapter explores each of the principles in the TRIC framework, including their meanings, their interconnectedness and interdependence, and their ability to inform and shape rural development.

For more information see:  Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis –  The “TRIC” to Fostering Shared Economic Prosperity in Rural America

White House Releases Nanotechnology Plan

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) unveiled the 2021 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Strategic Plan on October 9, 2021. The strategy seeks to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in nanoscience discoveries as well as in translating and manufacturing its products to benefit all of America. In addition to identifying priorities for the NNI to best support the research community in the United States, the plan prioritizes efforts to expand sustainable infrastructure and advance equity in the nanotechnology workforce.

The plan emphasizes the need for specialized nanotechnology research tools and facilities, emphasizing the need to expand and refresh the research infrastructure, and provide access to these facilities for research and industry. The plan also links investments in research infrastructure to the training of the future nanotechnology workforce and continued growth in high-paying jobs.

Tech Transfer Presentation: The Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program

Washington Area Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society (T2SDC) will be hosting an online presentation on the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from Noon to 1 p.m..

The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program leverages the resources of the University System of Maryland (USM) to help create new products and services that feed the growth of Maryland businesses. Since the program’s inception in 1987, MIPS–enabled products have generated sales of $42 billion.

MIPS provides funding, matched by participating companies, for university-based research projects that help the companies develop new products. The program is administered at the flagship campus at the University of Maryland, College Park, and works throughout the 12 member institutions of the University System of Maryland, plus Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College. In these academic-industrial, public-private partnerships, MIPS connects the resources of the Maryland public universities to businesses from all parts of Maryland.

Presenting will be Joseph Naft, Director of the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program of the University of Maryland (UMD).

To register, please go use the following link.

Software Bill of Materials Minimum Elements Defined by NTIA

The President’s recent cybersecurity Executive Order (14028) directed the Department of Commerce, in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), to publish the “minimum elements” for a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). See: .PDF iconThe Minimum Elements For a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) This report builds on the work of NTIA’s SBOM multistakeholder process, as well as the responses to a request for comments issued in June, 2021, and extensive consultation with other Federal experts. 

An SBOM is a formal record containing the details and supply chain relationships of various components used in building software. In addition to establishing minimum elements, this report defines the scope of how to think about minimum elements, describes SBOM use cases for greater transparency in the software supply chain, and lays out options for future evolution

The minimum elements as defined in the report are the essential pieces that support basic SBOM functionality and will serve as the foundation for an evolving approach to software transparency. These minimum elements comprise three broad, interrelated areas.

  1. Data Fields: Documenting baseline information about each component that should be tracked
  2. Automation Support: Allowing for scaling across the software ecosystem through automatic generation and machine-readability
  3. Practices and Processes: Defining the operations of SBOM requests, generation and use

SBOM minimum elements will enable basic use cases, such as management of vulnerabilities, software inventory, and licenses. The report also looks at recommended SBOM features and advances that go beyond the minimum elements, including key security features and tracking more detailed supply chain data.

Arch Street on NSF Funding, Senate Tech Legislation

Tim Clancy, President of Arch Street was quoted in the June 3 edition of Chemical and Engineering News on potential new funding for the National Science Foundation and a proposed new NSF technology directorate as envisioned by the US Innovation and Competition Act (S.1260), previously the Endless Frontier Act.

The new legislation and a companion House bill would expand NSF funding of advanced technology and development and push the agency to adopt a “strong program manager” funding model utilized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This would be significant shift of philosophy for the NSF which has focused on basic, fundamental research selected through rigorous peer review with program managers playing a facilitating role. In the NSF budget request for Fiscal Year 2022, the Biden Administration has proposed the creation of a new NSF technology directorate as well as additional funding for regional innovation activities focused on critical technologies such as advanced manufacturing and semiconductors.