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Opportunity Knocks: Innovators Welcome at the Navy Opportunity Forum

For Immediate Release: May 26, 2015

ARLINGTON, Va.— Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mat Winter will address innovators, technology experts and hundreds of leading small businesses June 1 at this year's Navy Opportunity Forum in Crystal City, Virginia, sponsored by the Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The forum is a busy intersection where many partnerships are pursued by military, industry, small business leaders and academia to develop leading-edge technologies for warfighters needing innovative, affordable solutions to defense and security problems.

“The Navy Opportunity Forum is well named,” said Winter. “This gathering uniquely promotes discovery of new ideas, talented people in small business and new partnerships in the defense industry to mature new technologies that will benefit the Navy and nation.”

The forum’s signature function is formal technical presentations of 165 rapidly maturing SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) projects over the course of its three-day run. These technologies represent potential solutions and new breakthroughs for challenges facing current programs of record in the naval acquisition community and their industry partners.

The Office of Naval Research manages the overall SBIR/STTR program for the Navy, and its director, Bob Smith, sees a strong tie to the Department of Defense priorities for increasing small business partnerships as outlined in Better Buying Power 3.0, published by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in April 2015.

“The Navy recognizes the essential role played by small businesses in developing technology for the defense of this nation and our allies,” said Bob Smith, director of the Navy's SBIR/STTR programs. “The Opportunity Forum is essential to support small businesses but, as importantly, to learn from them and discover opportunities to support our Sailors and Marines with the most advanced technologies in the world.”

In addition to offering opportunities for exchanging ideas and collaboration, thousands of attendees can hear policy perspectives from high-ranking officials and tour an exhibit hall showcasing the latest cutting-edge technologies from small businesses. Over the years, policy makers and titans of industry have become regulars at the event, recognizing the opportunity to connect and interact with some of the country's most innovative industry forces.

In addition to Winter, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH and Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship) is a featured presenter, along with many other distinguished speakers and visitors to include: Elliot Branch, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy; Katanya Wesley, acting director of the OSD Office of Small Business Programs; Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags; Vice Adm. David Dunaway, Naval Air System Command; Vice Adm. William H. Hilarides, Naval Sea Systems Command; Brig. Gen. Joseph Schrader; Rep. Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Small Business Committee; and many more.

The event includes formal presentations by small businesses, opportunities for networking in the exhibit hall; keynote presentations and panels; and one-on-one meetings. More than 175 technologies funded by the Navy's SBIR and STTR will be on display.

Some of the topics to be discussed include:

  • Tapping Into Small Business in a Big Way
  • SBIR Reauthorization and Subcontracting Challenges
  • Implementation of Better Buying Power 3.0
  • Transition discussions, coaching and more

While the event registration is currently close to maximum capacity, tickets for industry representatives were still available at press time. To register, go to:

About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 55 countries, 634 institutions of higher learning and nonprofit institutions, and more than 960 industry partners. ONR, through its commands, including headquarters, ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., employs more than 3,800 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.