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R&D Innovation

Research and Development Ecosystem

One of the best beta tests in history happened right here in Dayton when Orville and Wilbur Wright decided to design a flying machine in their Wright Cycle Company. That desire to try new and exciting technology and push the boundaries of known science has shaped Dayton into a region that thrives on innovation, takes pride in its creative problem solving, and leads the country in research and development for the Air Force. The Boolean search method that drives internet search engines was developed in Dayton by LexisNexis, and daily life is filled with Dayton inventions. Our region shaped aerospace innovation, navigation systems, stealth technology and composite materials development.

The region is home to successful federal research installations, leading private businesses, non-profits and universities. These key players often work together on breakthrough discoveries to create new and improved products, processes and more. The military doesn’t use all the developed technologies, so the Air Force Technology Transfer office ensures these are transferred or intentionally shared with state and local governments, academia and industry. This common exchange of knowledge, expertise, equipment and testing facilities leverages the Department of Defense (DoD) research and development investment. Through organizations like the Dayton Tech Guide, Wright Brothers Institute and The Entrepreneurs Center, private businesses large and small continue to position us as a region full of great minds and life‐enhancing products.

Air Force Research Laboratory

Multiple federal research laboratories call the Dayton Region home. The new technology these laboratories generate is critical to the economic and military security of our country and key to the nation’s economic strength. This exceptional atmosphere of inspiration, along with the billions of dollars of contracts to support what we do, continue to bring new companies to the region each year.

Research labs include:

  • Headquarters of the U.S Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and five of its directorates. There are more than 10,000 employees within AFRL. Of those, 6,272 are engineers or scientists, and more than 80% have a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. Directorates include:
    • The Aerospace Systems Directorate brings together world-class facilities, including a fuels research facility, structural testing labs, compressor research facility, rocket testing facilities, supersonic and subsonic wind tunnels, flight simulation lab, and many other cutting-edge research labs. Among the technologies in development in the Aerospace Systems Directorate are scramjet engines, alternative fuels, unmanned vehicles, hypersonic vehicles, collision avoidance and aircraft energy optimization.
    • The Materials and Manufacturing Directorate focuses on materials, processes, and manufacturing technologies. Current research activities focus on thermal protection materials, metallic and nonmetallic structural materials, nondestructive inspection methods, materials used in aerospace propulsion systems, and electromagnetic and electronic materials.
    • The Sensors Directorate focuses on sensors for air and space reconnaissance, surveillance, precision engagement, and electronic warfare applications. Its specific areas of interest include radio frequency sensors and countermeasures, electro-optical sensors and countermeasures, and automatic target recognition and sensor fusion.
    • The 711th Human Performance Wing, headquartered at WPAFB, is a unique combination of three units: the Airman Systems Directorate, the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) and the Human Systems Integration Directorate. The synergies of combining the ideas, resources and technologies of these units position the 711 HPW as a world leader in the study and advancement of human performance and augmentation.
  • The University of Dayton and Wright State University are both home to robust research institutes known for their partnerships with the Air Force, and many others.
Ohio Federal Research Network

The Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN), jointly lead by the Wright State Applied Research Corporation, was created to leverage the strength of Ohio’s world-class public and private research universities, industry, and its uniquely valuable federal labs, to continue to strengthen the state’s economy for the 21st century.

Under OFRN, the research talent employed by these institutions and their collaborating universities, all carefully configured around areas of technical excellence in partnership with Ohio industry, has allowed the region to develop world-class technical talent.

The technologies, developed through state-funded projects, also prime the pump for innovative new public-private partnerships by providing abundant opportunities for follow-on commercialization collaborations with, and investments from, the private sector, especially small and medium-sized companies.

Projects could create new and improved products attracting $350 million in new add-on investments throughout the state during the next five years.

If you’re looking for new partners for collaborations, new ways to leverage research funds, and a welcoming ecosystem ready to help you innovate, come join us. It’s easy to plug in.

Additional Facts

University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) – #1 among Catholic universities for sponsored engineering R&D and #9 in the nation for sponsored research among private research universities without medical schools. UDRI employs more than 550 full-time researchers. Established as the research arm of the University of Dayton in 1956, UDRI broke the $1 billion mark in sponsored research at the end of 2003.

The Center for Operator Performance – a diverse group of industry, vendor, and academia representatives addressing human capabilities and limitations with research, collaboration, and human factors engineering. Meeting twice annually, once per year at Wright State University, members include Chevron, Citgo and Emerson Process Management.

Sinclair College - Sinclair received its 59th award (including grants and subawards) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2017. The NSF has awarded Sinclair more grants and subgrants than any other community college in the United States.

Multiple federal research laboratories call the Dayton Region home. The new technology these laboratories generate is critical to the economic and military security of our country and key to the nation’s economic strength. This exceptional atmosphere of inspiration, along with the billions of dollars of contracts to support what we do, continue to bring new companies to the region each year.

Research labs include:

  • Headquarters of the U.S Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and five of its directorates. There are more than 10,000 employees within AFRL. Of those, 6,272 are engineers or scientists, and more than 80% have a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. Directorates include:
    • The Aerospace Systems Directorate brings together world-class facilities, including a fuels research facility, structural testing labs, compressor research facility, rocket testing facilities, supersonic and subsonic wind tunnels, flight simulation lab, and many other cutting-edge research labs. Among the technologies in development in the Aerospace Systems Directorate are scramjet engines, alternative fuels, unmanned vehicles, hypersonic vehicles, collision avoidance and aircraft energy optimization.
    • The Materials and Manufacturing Directorate focuses on materials, processes, and manufacturing technologies. Current research activities focus on thermal protection materials, metallic and nonmetallic structural materials, nondestructive inspection methods, materials used in aerospace propulsion systems, and electromagnetic and electronic materials.
    • The Sensors Directorate focuses on sensors for air and space reconnaissance, surveillance, precision engagement, and electronic warfare applications. Its specific areas of interest include radio frequency sensors and countermeasures, electro-optical sensors and countermeasures, and automatic target recognition and sensor fusion.
    • The 711th Human Performance Wing, headquartered at WPAFB, is a unique combination of three units: the Airman Systems Directorate, the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) and the Human Systems Integration Directorate. The synergies of combining the ideas, resources and technologies of these units position the 711 HPW as a world leader in the study and advancement of human performance and augmentation.
  • The University of Dayton and Wright State University are both home to robust research institutes known for their partnerships with the Air Force, and many others.

The Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN), jointly lead by the Wright State Applied Research Corporation, was created to leverage the strength of Ohio’s world-class public and private research universities, industry, and its uniquely valuable federal labs, to continue to strengthen the state’s economy for the 21st century.

Under OFRN, the research talent employed by these institutions and their collaborating universities, all carefully configured around areas of technical excellence in partnership with Ohio industry, has allowed the region to develop world-class technical talent.

The technologies, developed through state-funded projects, also prime the pump for innovative new public-private partnerships by providing abundant opportunities for follow-on commercialization collaborations with, and investments from, the private sector, especially small and medium-sized companies.

Projects could create new and improved products attracting $350 million in new add-on investments throughout the state during the next five years.

If you’re looking for new partners for collaborations, new ways to leverage research funds, and a welcoming ecosystem ready to help you innovate, come join us. It’s easy to plug in.

University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) – #1 among Catholic universities for sponsored engineering R&D and #9 in the nation for sponsored research among private research universities without medical schools. UDRI employs more than 550 full-time researchers. Established as the research arm of the University of Dayton in 1956, UDRI broke the $1 billion mark in sponsored research at the end of 2003.

The Center for Operator Performance – a diverse group of industry, vendor, and academia representatives addressing human capabilities and limitations with research, collaboration, and human factors engineering. Meeting twice annually, once per year at Wright State University, members include Chevron, Citgo and Emerson Process Management.

Sinclair College - Sinclair received its 59th award (including grants and subawards) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2017. The NSF has awarded Sinclair more grants and subgrants than any other community college in the United States.

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