‘Innovation Bridge’ to Link High-Tech Industry in Massachusetts to Federal Agencies

A new initiative launched by the commonwealth of Massachusetts will help the state’s high-tech companies forge relationships with federal agencies aimed at solving the nation’s most difficult challenges.

The Massachusetts Innovation Bridge will be funded by MassDevelopment, a state-sponsored economic development agency, and managed by the MITRE Corp., a nonprofit think tank that conducts advanced research for DOD and many civilian federal agencies. The Innovation Bridge, which will be located at business incubator CIC Boston, will provide a dedicated space for leadership forums and workshops, technology scouting, and venture capital portfolio and university research exchanges, according to a press release.

“The federal sector tends to source its innovations from a somewhat limited pool of companies,” said Peter Sherlock, director of MITRE’s Bedford, Mass., facility, “and this is really intended to broaden the sources of innovation available to the federal government.”

Sherlock said the Innovation Bridge is designed to provide a permanent channel between government and local innovators, making it easier for companies to bring new products to market, reported the Boston Globe.

The initiative also will strengthen the state’s military installations by building on the existing connections between the innovation economy and state assets such as Hanscom Air Force Base, Natick Soldier Systems Center, and Joint Base Cape Cod.

“Massachusetts is the most innovative state in the nation, and we are uniquely equipped to forge connections between private sector innovators and the Department of Defense,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “This first-of-its-kind workplace will foster deep collaboration between Massachusetts researchers and innovators, and mission-driven federal partners hungry for innovative solutions.”

In conjunction with Baker’s April 22 announcement, the Innovation Bridge held an industry forum in conjunction with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.

“For the Air Force, we really see diversity as mission critical,” James said. “We need to broaden our partnerships to include non-traditional companies to ensure we can access cutting-edge technology and ideas.”

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