NC DEFTECH connects businesses with DoD to advance research and development

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North Carolina’s Greenhill AntiBallistics Corp has developed a nanomaterial that reduces bullet impact by 50%. It can protect soldiers wearing Kevlar and football players from helmet hits. The North Carolina Defense Technology Transition Office promotes dual-use products for collaboration between industries, benefiting national security and societal well-being.

This article was written for our sponsor,   North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC)

Even while wearing Kevlar body armor, warfighters often face grave injury when shot due to blunt force trauma. Davidson, a North Carolina-based Greenhill AntiBallistics Corporation, may have found a solution in the form of a nanomaterial that can reduce the impact of a bullet by 50 percent.

The nanomaterial promises to have numerous civilian applications, such as protecting high school, college, and professional football players from the concussion-inducing impact of a hit to the helmet or other areas.

Products with Department of Defense (DoD) and civilian applications, such as Greenhill’s impact-dissipating nanomaterial are dual-use. It is the mission of the North Carolina Defense Technology Transition Office (NC DEFTECH) to connect with and support businesses on the cutting edge of such innovation, says Director Denny Lewis.

NC DEFTECH is a component of the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC), which is a statewide entity for business development and technology transition of the State of North Carolina, embedded in community colleges and headquartered at Fayetteville Technical Community College. The mission of the NCMBC is to leverage military and other federal business opportunities to expand the economy, grow jobs, and improve the quality of life in North Carolina.

“Dual use innovation fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing between the defense sector and other industries,” notes Bob Burton, NC DEFTECH Senior Manager and a retired Army Special Operations Command Sergeant Major. “It encourages experts from diverse fields to unite, exchange ideas, and work toward common goals. This collaboration brings fresh perspectives, stimulates creativity, and fuels innovation. Through partnerships and joint initiatives, the defense sector can tap into the expertise of professionals in other industries, accelerating technological advancements and addressing complex challenges.”

A wide range of North Carolina industries work with the DoD, and those not currently collaborating are encouraged to explore potential opportunities, particularly companies involved in cutting-edge research.

“When people think of the DoD, they usually think of guns, airplanes, ships and tanks,” observes Lewis, a retired Army Colonel who has been with the NCMBC since 2015. “But almost everything the DoD needs is also needed by the commercial sector, whether it’s food, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics or medical. So, if any company is innovating or developing a new product, even though they may be focused on the commercial sector, there’s a good chance there is also a need for that within the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security, and they need to contact us.”

NC DEFTECH does much to engage with businesses within North Carolina, as well as companies outside the state that are in a position to partner with them. For example, every Friday, NC DEFTECH hosts a one-hour “coffee call” which usually features a presentation by someone involved in national defense, followed by a discussion period. “We’re in our fourth year, and have between 40 and 70 people on that call every Friday,” Lewis reports. “It’s a way of reaching out to folks, and then word spreads. Today, we have about 900 people within our network. We only talk to people in our network, but anyone can join.”

NC DEFTECH’s relationship with the NCMBC also helps with outreach to potential business partners. “We focus on innovation, whereas the rest of the NCMBC focuses more on standard acquisition processes,” Lewis explains. “But we team up with our colleagues and they help extend our outreach to innovators throughout the state. We also run events such as the Defense Technology Summit we hosted in July at Fayetteville Technical Community College. We had about 250 people attend, of which 40 were government participants. It was a chance for innovators to talk directly to government folks who are interested in finding the newest game-changing technologies the DoD might be able to use.”

Later this year, NC DEFTECH will host an event called DARPA Connect at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in Greensboro. “We’re expecting to host 150 to 200 innovators interested in finding out how they can get funding from the Department of Defense to advance research and development,” Lewis says.

The DoD benefits greatly from such relationships, which promise notable advances in warfighting technology, such as Greenhill’s nanomaterial. But North Carolina businesses benefit in big ways as well. Lewis says. “Most of our nation’s research and development is being done in the private sector, so the DoD has made working with them much easier,” he notes. “The benefit to the commercial folks who might want to collaborate with the DoD is that they get funding, are able to expand their market and, once they start selling to the DoD, can expect a long relationship with the knowledge that they will be paid. Plus, they know they are contributing to our national security.”

“Dual use innovation and technology can potentially address global challenges faced by the defense sector and society,” adds Burton. “For example, advancements in cybersecurity developed for defense applications can be applied to protect critical infrastructure, financial systems, and personal data, safeguarding against cyber threats that affect governments, businesses, and individuals. By leveraging dual-use technology, we can find comprehensive and sustainable solutions to complex problems, benefitting national security and societal well-being.”

North Carolina businesses interested in connecting with NC DEFTECH are encouraged to visit its website:

Original Article Source: WRAL News