The Maryland Department of Commerce (DOC) has received a $750,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to expand the Maryland Defense Technology Commercialization (DefTech) Center, a pilot program established in 2018 to fund tech transfer activities in U.S. Department of Defense labs at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Due to the success of the pilot program, which was initially funded by the DoD Office of Economic Adjustment, DOC applied for funding under a competitive grant program from the Economic Development Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The new grant expands the services of the DefTech Center program to Fort Meade and Fort Detrick, in Frederick.

“Howard County is home to talented companies and entrepreneurs who will benefit from the DefTech program through their commercialization of defense-IP revolving around Fort Meade,” said HCEDA CEO Larry Twele. “This is another example of how the Howard County Innovation Center will be a nexus to bring together targeted programs and stakeholders which fosters business development and technology innovation. HCEDA and the Howard Tech Council look forward to participating in the expansion of DefTech into a statewide network.”

Like the original DefTech Center, the new centers at Fort Meade and Fort Detrick will offer an intellectual property matchmaking, mentoring and coaching, resource connections, startup support and other services to help clients explore technology transfer opportunities. The centers will also host networking, educational and skill-building events for entrepreneurs, covering topics such as customer discovery, market identification, intellectual property & patent law and market-oriented product development.

Federal government partners in the project include the NSA Technology Transfer Program, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) Tech Transfer Office at Fort Detrick, and Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Technology Transfer Offices at APG. Other partners, each of which contributed matching funds to support the expansion of the DefTech program, include the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), the Fort Meade Alliance and TEDCO, among others.

The funding will also support enhancements to the program’s website, including incorporating the Maryland Defense Patent Database, an aggregated repository for Maryland’s defense intellectual property that is available for licensing. The database currently includes approximately 1,800 patents for licensing from DoD labs in Maryland.