The Maryland Department of Commerce has received a $641,573 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to relaunch the state’s Defense Commercialization Center. The infusion is also intended to help small businesses serving the defense industry stay competitive by adopting Industry 4.0 standards.
The grant comes from the DoD’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation. The DefTech Center was founded in 2018 to boost local economies by helping entrepreneurs utilize federal lab and defense technologies or resources to develop a product for a non-federal, commercial market and/or to be utilized by the government ― also known as technology transfer.
Initially funded by the DoD, in partnership with Harford County Office of Community & Economic Development and U.S. Army labs at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the program was later funded in 2019 by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The refunded DefTech program will now be administered by Columbia-based TEDCO. This new round of funding will allow DefTech to expand its scope to include collaboration with the state’s Navy labs in their effort through the NavalX Tech Bridges program. The intent is to not only push technology out to the commercial market, but also attract innovative technologies to advance their missions.
The new DoD funding also allows for the development and implementation of a pilot program focused on prime contractor and subcontractor resiliency. The Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership will manage the Original Equipment Manufacturer Support Program in working with defense contractors Northrop Grumman and Textron to help their first-tier suppliers adopt Industry 4.0 standards.