Maximizing the Success of Internal Research Investments

Lewis-Burke worked with a major university research institute to expand opportunities for recipients of Independent Research and Development (IRAD) funds to develop future initiatives of interest to the Department of Defense (DOD).  Working with the research institute’s staff, Lewis-Burke identified programs and targets of opportunity for the IRAD program’s principal investigators with Department of Defense (DOD) research and technology prototyping organizations, as well as in operational military organizations that could benefit from experimenting with new technological capabilities.  Lewis-Burke provided background, guidance and facilitated introductions to DOD program managers interested in leveraging the university’s existing investments in high-risk/high-payoff research and development.  To ensure the program’s success in its early stages, Lewis-Burke became embedded in all phases of the program’s execution, filling a unique role of advising both the leadership and the awardees on emerging trends in defense and commercial technology, changes in DOD strategic guidance, and relevant government funding opportunities.  Lewis-Burke’s support to the program included: recommending emphasis areas for project selection that align with technology trends and DOD priorities, supporting the program’s leadership in execution and modification of the nascent program, participating in project reviews, and identifying opportunities to transition the research to sponsors outside the university.  Lewis-Burke also supported program leadership’s efforts to raise awareness across campus and to promote the model across the federal government within DOD, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Due to the success of the program in its initial year, IRAD funding for the program was doubled in its second year and the effort expanded to include campus faculty who have not previously engaged with the research institute.