I had a great discussion with a NIST researcher about federal researchers and their experience with collaborating on their innovations to push their projects from the labs to the commercial market. This is what he had to say. From his experience, he noticed that some scientists adopted a “researcher mentality,” wherein they are subject matter experts in their field and feel confident sending out their completed research and then returning to the lab for new and continued projects. The better move, sometimes, is to not rush back to the lab, because one might miss opportunities for critical and practical feedback from those that will ultimately consume or benefit from the technology. Getting away from the “lab mentality,” as he calls it, and encouraging a more collaborative mentality is where he and his teams have found success over the years. So, how does he recommend going about this way of thinking?
The NIST researcher emphasized the importance of networking. He stated that networking is critical in federal research and there are many different ways to go about it. Attending conferences and virtual workshops can get a foot in the door with others who are interested in the specific field of research. From there, one can have a multitude of products that would interest collaborators, and these can include: a website, publications, data sets and papers to name a few. It’s all about marketing one’s self and research efforts. By putting one’s foot in the door, it can possibly lead to new leads for partnerships, CRADAs, and overall collaboration efforts.
If you would like to find out more about the services available to assist you, when it comes to collaborating for your innovations, market analysis, and identifying companies in your field of interest, contact Robin Bunch at robin.bunch [at] nist.gov (.)