As the Navy’s first and only local chapter of NAI, the NIWC Pacific Chapter offers a community of innovative collaborators, focused on disciplined process and standards, coming together to create and invent transformative technology for the Navy, for the warfighter, and for the future. Their first meeting of the decade focused on how the structure of NAI can help fan the flames of innovation within the warfare center.
To start, NAVWAR Commander, Rear Adm. Christian Becker, was on hand to provide opening remarks about the importance of innovation, invention and supporting the scientists and researchers doing this type of groundbreaking work for the Navy.
“We are at a critical point in history in terms of technology growth and opportunity,” said Becker. “The positives that artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data promise, are moving from science into standard practice. What’s next? Each day, each hour, each minute – breakthroughs in technology are happening all around us and it is imperative that we remain ahead of our competition. Invention, innovation, and experimentation are what will ensure we can both compete and win today and in the years to come.”
Formed in 2016, the NIWC Pacific chapter provides an opportunity to engage with other inventors, not only at the warfare center, but at other research laboratories and institutions across the country. Their goal is to promote patenting, advocate for protection of government intellectual property and facilitate the successful transition of technology for defense and commercial applications.
“We play a unique role in bridging the gap and fielding technology innovations to the fleet,” said Carly Jackson, NAVWAR chief technology officer. “Our responsibility - our great privilege - is to translate our leaders’ vision for the future fleet, and to unleash the ingenuity of our scientists, engineers, and our greatest innovators, to speed the adoption rates of game-changing technologies.”
The meeting also served as a venue to recognize and congratulate the newest NAI Senior Members and a recipient of NAI’s highest professional distinction, NAI Fellow.
The two Senior Members inductees are Dr. Marcio de Andrade and Ayax Ramirez. De Andrade holds seven patents, five patents pending and has an additional 13 patent applications currently in process. His licensed patents and applications have resulted in successful transfer of government intellectual property to the commercial sector to further economic development.
Ramirez holds 24 issued patents and six patents pending. He has over 20 publications in books, peer-reviewed journals or conference proceedings in the areas of radio frequency photonics and integrated optics, free space optics, wireless communications and networking and microelectronics technologies in their applications to support national defense.
Dr. Adi Bulsara was recognized as the chapter’s newest Fellow, an NAI program that was established to highlight academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.
With 35 years of service to NIWC Pacific, selection as a U.S. Navy Distinguished Scientist for non-linear dynamics and holder of more than 14 patents, Bulsara shared with the group some secrets of his success, and how to avoid an inventor’s dreaded “valley of death” – a term used to describe the gap between academic research and industrial commercialization, a missed opportunity for economic, social and technological progress.
These inventors will be formally inducted at the 2020 NAI Fellows Induction Ceremony, April 10, in Phoenix, Arizona.
“I love being heavily involved in NAI because, to me, it represents the acknowledgment and empowerment of invention for societal progress,” said Anna Leese de Escobar, NIWC Pacific senior science and technology manager for cryogenic electronics and chapter president. “As Navy scientists, invention is one of the key contributions to ensuring our warfighters are not fighting a fair fight.”
The meeting closed with a presentation about NIWC Pacific’s Technology Transfer Office, which helps inventors connect with resources and partners, build external relations and enable partnering outside of the center to help projects succeed. They also serve as advocates to help inventors navigate the patent and licensing processes.
In fiscal year 2019, NIWC researchers and scientists were the recipients of 91 patents including inventions that focused on quantum computing, wireless power and data transfer for unmanned vehicles, kinetic energy harvesting and power production in linear array benthic microbial fuel cells.
The chapter plans to continue to meet on a monthly basis to facilitate conversation and collaboration, recognize accomplishments and hear from inventors as guest speakers. They will also lead student research days and competitions relating to entrepreneurship and invention, educational workshops about technology transfer and provide student and faculty awards for invention and innovation.
NAI is a member organization comprising of U.S. and international universities, governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor member and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide.
The NAI was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society.