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NextFlex News – August 2021 Newsletter

Dear Members and Colleagues,

We were delighted that we could host members in-person at NextFlex during Innovation Days two weeks ago. Overall, 388 members, government partners, and workforce development partners participated in this year’s Innovation Days and of those, 40 members and government partners braved the uncertainties of air travel to participate in person, which was wonderful. We shared updates on how NextFlex and its members are delivering on our mission to create a strong industrial base for FHE manufacturing and provided examples of the strong partnership that exists between the NextFlex community and the DoD in the accomplishment of that mission. We strive to establish and grow the FHE manufacturing ecosystem, advance research and technology and develop human capital for the workforce of the future.

Our three excellent keynotes each shared unique perspectives on how flexible hybrid electronics will impact both military and commercial electronics applications. First, Ms. Kristen Baldwin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering, spoke about the national defense strategy, the importance of domestic manufacturing and the opportunities created by NextFlex to help DoD engage with industry, academia and state and local partners to help them achieve its modernization priorities.

Our Day 2 keynote, Mr. Maynard Holliday, Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization at the DoD, spoke about developing critical technologies, such as AI, ML, biotechnology, hypersonics, and microelectronics requires the collaboration of government, academia, and the industrial base to deliver innovation at speed. He noted that NextFlex’s partnership with the DoD on agency projects through the Technology Hub, as well as multi-institute projects, have delivered capabilities aligned to the DoD modernization priorities. He concluded his remarks by recognizing the significant achievement of NextFlex’s workforce development programs which are now expanding across the nation.

Finally, Karen Bradford, Director of the Partnership Office at NASA Ames Research, spoke about the multitude of disciplines needed for successful NASA missions: from air traffic management to advanced computing and IT, to astrobiology and wearables, and even the psychology of the effect of space travel on humans is a factor. In addition, she spoke about the work that NextFlex has contributed to NASA as part of their In-Space Manufacturing Program. NextFlex helped develop a wearable, flexible sensor patch called “AstroSense” for crew health monitoring for markers such as cortisol, an indicator of stress while in space. She concluded her talk with an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”

We at NextFlex take that message to heart and we practice it every day. It’s collaboration among members, universities, and government, that makes the Manufacturing Innovation Institute partnership work so well. We’ve come a long way, and yet there’s still work to be done. With our focus on collaboration, together we too will go far.

All these presentations and more are available for on-demand viewing. Visit nextflex.us to register.

Sincerely,

Malcolm J. Thompson, PhD

Executive Director

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