Commercializing Research & Revitalizing Ohio’s Economy
The Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN) seeks to leverage the strength of Ohio’s world-class public and private research universities, industry, and its uniquely valuable federal labs, to help revitalize the state’s economy for the 21st century.
Together, these network stakeholders will help drive higher returns on public investment through greater commercial activities from collaborative research into areas related to national defense, space exploration and aeronautics.
Ohio is privileged to have four federal research laboratories within its borders. They include:
- Air Force Research Laboratory
- NASA Glenn Research Center
- National Air and Space Intelligence Center
- Naval Medical Research Unit – Dayton
The products and processes springing from these laboratories are critical to the future economic and military security of our country and thus critical to the state’s economic strength. Under OFRN, the research talent employed by these institutions and their collaborating universities, all carefully configured around areas of technical excellence in partnership with Ohio industry, can be a springboard to developing even more world-class technical talent across the state.
In the Summer of 2018, OFRN awarded $6.3 million to four teams in support of unmanned aerial vehicle research and development. Funding was awarded under OFRN’s Sustaining Ohio’s Aeronautical Readiness and Innovation in the Next Generation (SOARING) initiative, OFRN’s third round of R&D funding. The SOARING initiative is designed to expand Ohio’s leadership in defense and commercial aerospace research, development, and sustainment of unmanned air systems, personal air vehicles, and logistics delivery air vehicles. SOARING funding leverages Ohio’s unique aerospace assets to assist recipients in overcoming critical technical barriers and challenges.
In the Winter of 2019, OFRN awarded $7.5 million to six teams as part of the SOARING initiative, OFRN’s fourth round of R&D funding. Each project was reviewed and selected by an independent Technical Review Council and OFRN Executive Review Board, based on SOARING requirements that are designed to accelerate R&D into real-world applications. Projects must focus on priority research initiatives of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton, National Air and Space Intelligence Center and National Aeronautical and Space Administration’s Glenn Research Center. Each project must include at least two Ohio universities, one industry member and engagement with an Ohio-based arm of a federal partner. Recipients must also provide a demonstration of the technologies they develop.
The technologies being developed through these state-funded projects also prime the pump for innovative new public-private partnerships, by providing abundant opportunities for follow-on commercialization collaborations with, and investments from, the private sector, especially small and medium-sized companies.
It’s anticipated that OFRN projects will create new and improved products attracting $350 million in new add-on investments throughout the state in five years.