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Dept. of Homeland Security pushes for more commercialization

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 8th, 2021

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created new programs in an effort to bring more technologies from federal labs to the marketplace.

The programs include the Homeland Security Startup Studio competition, which launched in January and wrapped up at the end of August. The competition pairs 10 companies with homeland security-related technologies from federal labs and partnering universities. At the end of the program, the start-ups pitch their technologies for cash prizes.

“The teams are made up of a diverse set of inventors and entrepreneurs,” says Megan Mahle, director of industry partnerships at the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, which oversees the competition. “They have a lot of impressive experience and exciting ideas. They’re getting ready to move their technologies to the market, and they’re certainly people that we want to continue to engage with.”

DHS is also working with the start-up community through the Silicon Valley Innovation Program, in which participants take existing commercial technologies and tweak them for homeland security purposes.

“We realize more public-private collaboration is needed to carry out DHS missions and ensure security operators have the right tools and capabilities to prevent, respond to and recover from all disasters,” says Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, senior official at DHS. “There used to be a day when the federal government led the space in innovation — that has long since passed.”

DHS is currently seeking applicants for the 2022 Startup Studio and working on new ways to turn federally funded research into products and successful companies.

“The benefits of moving research from the lab to the front lines are tangible and will help the department bridge the gap between the research environment and the rapid innovation cycles of the marketplace,” says Mitchell. “It will also help the department expand its industrial base, which is essential for protecting our way of life.”

Source: Federal News Network

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