The Research Triangle Park

RTP180 Recap: Military Tech

By Author Nov 22, 2018
rtp180 military tech
Dr-Stephen-Lee

Dr. Stephen Lee

Attention! November is Military Appreciation Month, and we hosted RTP180: Military Tech on November 15 to highlight advances in military research and to honor our troops. North Carolina is known as the Nation’s Most Military Friendly State, and our speakers presented top-notch content on the military efforts in our state. To add on to the fun, we gave out some Frontier swag to the participants of our lively Q&A session.

Dr. Stephen Lee of US Army Research Office spoke on the importance of utilizing science to develop solutions for existing army technology. He compared a soldier’s equipment to what our daily office essentials are to us, so durability is vital to military tech. Stephen stated civilians can participate in this as well, and the best way is through constant communication among ourselves, partners and developers. He also informed us of the many ways to support US Army research, which include volunteer opportunities, supporting STEM education, or even reaching out to the US Army Research Office directly. Watch Stephen’s talk here.

Kathie Sidner of University of North Carolina (UNC) System Office gave us the scope of the universities’ role in military technology. She demonstrated that a big part of the process is understanding both military and academic lingo, then connecting the two to help both communities in becoming mutually beneficial for each other. I definitely did not consider specific differences between the two cultures before, and am glad to see that great efforts are made to ensure the best partnership! Kathie also highlighted the significance of engaging faculty and staff to leverage their expertise, so as to contribute to national security with greater impact. Watch Kathie’s talk here.

Mary-Beth

Mary Beth Thomas

Rebecca Barbour of Bennett Aerospace indicated that every new technology comes with new risks, and current emerging threats can be completely different from the past several years. Hence, she expressed that collaboration is key to being a part of the military technology environment, and that small businesses play a strong part in this alliance. On top of providing expertise to technology innovation, Rebecca showed that business practices can be reworked to ensure full benefit is gained from every dollar invested in defense. Lastly, she reminded us to stay responsive to the military’s needs, and practice agility in innovation. Watch Rebecca’s talk here.

Mary Beth Thomas of NC Biotechnology Center addressed the medical side of military technology. She revealed just how seriously the term “mission-driven” is taken by presenting Medicago’s technology, which develops vaccines in 5-6 weeks compared to the typical 6 month process! Mary emphasized the importance of such improvements that keep up with the troops’ consistent exposure to different diseases. We are very proud to have companies like Medicago in the RTP that contribute to military efforts. Mary Beth also stated that with the army supporting the future of medicine, the technology will benefit people all over the world as well. Watch Mary Beth’s talk here.

Stuart Ruffin of NC Military Foundation presented on why everyone can benefit from the growth of the defense economy. He conveyed that there is a large increase in military spending to keep up with the paradigm shift in technology. This provides a great opportunity for businesses to become involved. He prided North Carolina on having the best defense support organizations in the nation that not only aid military bases and veterans, but also connect businesses and innovators. Stuart indicated that it is the best time to get involved with this market because any field could contribute its efforts in new markets and technology. Watch Stuart’s talk here.

We look forward to connecting with you all in 2019!

This was our last RTP180 of 2018, and we thank you all for making this program a big success this year! But not to worry, the show will go on. Ready for more #RTP180? Our next topic for 2019 is Smart—be sure to reserve your tickets for the January 17 event and get ready for another year of beer, popcorn, knowledge and networking!

Thanks to presenting sponsor RTI International for enabling us to provide a platform for our community to share their knowledge. We’re also glad to have UNC-TV as our producer—if you can’t make it to an RTP180 event, you can catch the live stream beginning at 6:00PM EST the day of the show at ncchannel.org, and be sure to follow along with us on Twitter using #RTP180.

Photos by Ryan Timms.