Changing Independent Research and Development Model

Industry might have to look to new models to build defense science and technology business, given that funding is so tight and the old business case is changing, said Jennifer Ricklin, Air Force Research Lab chief technologist. The money available for independent research and development is shrinking, Ricklin said Wednesday at an Aviation Week conference in Arlington,. Va. If she were still in industry, “and if I was making that decision” about how to pursue defense-related science and technology “I would probably partner with universities and small businesses” that could create innovations, then present the work to the Defense Department, she explained. The budget has become “a zero-sum game at the Pentagon,” said Ricklin. There’s “just not that much available” in funding for IR&D in the coming years, she said. Partnerships would “buy down risk,” which has become the name of the game in government technology, and could make industry feel “comfortable offering solutions” to military needs, she said. (For more Ricklin, read What No One Else Will Do.)