The Department of Defense has created a new “Innovation Pathways” website aimed at making it easier for industry and academia to search for opportunities to collaborate with the DOD on technology projects, the Pentagon announced Friday.
The online portal, www.ctoinnovation.mil, will provide a “one-stop shop” for outside organizations to access the department’s innovation “ecosystem,” according to a press release.
The site “serves as a gateway to the Department’s efforts to bring in new ideas and technology, with a special focus on students, universities, and businesses,” the release said.
“The Innovation Pathways website is one part of our on-going efforts to make it easier for those across the innovation ecosystem, including small businesses, new entrants to the defense markets, universities, and traditional defense suppliers, to find ways to collaborate with the DoD and each other,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. “For the first time, the Department has a website that puts the range of these different opportunities across the Department in one place.”
One of the pathways will allow students and faculty to search for available internships, grants, scholarships and research opportunities.
Another is intended for companies in the commercial sector seeking business opportunities with the DoD.
“Businesses can also learn about ways to seek specific science, technology, prototyping, and experimentation opportunities,” the release said.
A third pathway is designed for military personnel and DOD civilians seeking to leverage existing projects, participate in workshops, or collaborate.
Users can apply filtering criteria based on their interests to find relevant innovation organizations within the department.
The Pentagon plans to periodically update the website to be responsive to user needs and technology advances.
The new online portal stemmed from work conducted by the Pentagon’s Innovation Steering Group, which was created by Hicks and chaired by Heidi Shyu, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.
“One thing that drove me nuts is talking to small companies, I realized that, you know, the DoD is just a giant fortress. They don’t know where the door is,” Shyu said Wednesday during a webinar hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association.
“One of the key things I wanted to do is create an R&E website so they’re able to go into the R&E website and be able to navigate through this maze,” she said. For example, “we’re linking to each of the services in terms of, if you’re interested in what the Army is doing and the Air Force is doing in terms of innovation opportunities, you can click on a link and it will take you right to the portal. So … hopefully you’re no longer groping in the dark.”