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NextFlex News – May 2019 Newsletter

The Future is Flexible

Plan now to join us in Arlington, VA for another great workshop on FHE for Defense Applications June 12-13 at the Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center. This workshop is shaping up to not only be a great opportunity to hear talks on microelectronics assembly and packaging with emphasis on security in the supply chain, missiles and munitions, command, control and communications and high-power RF, but a Project Call 5.0 Proposers Day will also be held that week on June 11. This event is for those interested in developing PC 5.0 proposals to meet with potential collaborators, so don’t miss the opportunity to participate in FHE project funding and watch for the announcement about PC 5.0 on June 5th.

In addition to these two events, there will be another iteration on June 10 – 11th for FHE PRO, NextFlex’s newest education program. Built on the success of our marquee education program, FlexFactor, we’ve now taken professional education to new heights with FHE PRO. Designed to immerse working professionals into the applications, development, and manufacturability of flexible hybrid electronic (FHE)-enabled products and devices, participants learn first-hand how FHE can transform product development. Following a collaborative, hands-on, group learning experience, participants return to their organizations with practical next steps on how FHE can immediately add value. FHE PRO is delivered in two modules. Module 1 is introductory, and for those without deep technical experience or those wanting a basic overview of the benefits of FHE. Module 2 is for the experienced technical professional seeking practical how-to answers to manufacturing questions. All in all, it will be a great week of learning, networking, and discovery.

As you may know, NextFlex’s Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Defense is coming due at the end of September. Not to worry, we’ve already put in place a two-year no-cost extension to ensure the funding of ongoing projects. In the meantime, the Governing Council has been overseeing the development of our long-term sustainability plan that calls for continuing support for consortium activities. To that end, I’ve been meeting with representatives of the DOD to advocate for funding so that we can continue to support DOD objectives. You’ll be hearing more about that in the coming months.

We were delighted to see that Bruce Hughes of the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center and Craig Herndon of Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division received accolades for being recognized as NextFlex Fellows in February. While we were happy to recognize their achievements in the moment with the FHE community, it’s nice to see that both Bruce and Craig are also appreciated by their respective organizations. Seeing the NextFlex mission of advancing flexible hybrid electronics amplified in this way was just terrific.

As we wrap up another semester of FlexFactor, I must tell you how special it was to attend the Final Pitch session at the first iteration to be held in Alabama, which was held at the US Rocket and Space Center. Wow! Thirty-seven students participated in this initial pilot, representing two classes from different high schools in the area. As part of a large grant from The Boeing Company and in partnership with the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and supported by Calhoun Community College and Drake State Community and Technical College, NextFlex successfully expanded FlexFactor into this new geographic region of the US, following on the successful launch in Northeast Ohio. Look for us to land in other geographic areas soon. I thank all the schools, community colleges and companies who’ve become as passionate as we are about raising awareness of the opportunities ahead in advanced manufacturing and inspiring young people to start their educational journeys to help them get here. We couldn’t do it without you.

Malcolm J. Thompson, Ph.D.
NextFlex Executive Director